The American Human Development Index: Results from Mississippi and Louisiana
The American Human Development Report is an application of the conceptual framework pioneered by Mahbub ul Haq, Amartya Sen, and others to look at human welfare more broadly than traditional measures of economic growth. It includes a Human Development Index, a composite measurement of well-being and opportunity comprised of health, education, and income indicators. Human development reports have now been adapted for over 160 regions around the world, where they have been embraced as critical benchmarks for human progress. But the American Human Development Report is the first to apply a human development index to an affluent-country context. Just as the global Human Development Index can help explain why two developing countries with identical Gross Domestic Product (GDP) can nevertheless fare so differently in more comprehensive metrics of quality of life, so too can an American Human Development Index illuminate the distribution of disparities and opportunities within a single developed country. This chapter looks specifically at applications of the human development framework to the states of Mississippi and Louisiana. In so doing, it uncovers that while certain population groups within these states thrive at the same level as the average of the top-ranked American state (Connecticut), other groups within these states lag decades behind. Recommendations for improving human developing rankings in these two Gulf States follow.
KeywordsGross Domestic Product African American Woman Human Development Index United Nations Development Programme American Community Survey
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