The American Human Development Index: Results from Mississippi and Louisiana

  • Sarah Burd-Sharps
  • Patrick Nolan Guyer
  • Ted Lechterman
  • Kristen LewisEmail author
Part of the Community Quality-of-Life Indicators book series (CQLI, volume 3)


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.


Gross Domestic Product African American Woman Human Development Index United Nations Development Programme American Community Survey 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. American Human Development Project and the United Way. (2009). Common good forecaster. New York: American Human Development Project. Available at
  2. Burd-Sharps, S., Lewis, K., & Martins, E. B. (2008). The Measure of America: American human development report 2008–2009. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Burd-Sharps, S., Lewis, K., & Martins, E. B. (2009a). A Portrait of Mississippi: Mississippi human development report 2009. New York: American Human Development Project. Available at
  4. Burd-Sharps, S., Lewis, K., & Martins, E. B. (2009b). A Portrait of Louisiana: Louisiana human development report 2009. New York: American Human Development Project. Available at
  5. ul Haq, M. (1995). Reflections on human development. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  6. United Nations Development Programme. (2007/2008). Human development report 2007/2008. New York: Palgrave MacMillan.Google Scholar
  7. United Nations Children’s Fund. (2008, December). The State of the World’s Children 2009: Maternal and Newborn Health. Available at
  8. US. Census Bureau. (2007). American Community Survey. Available at
  9. United States Census Bureau. (2009). “State and County QuickFacts, Louisiana.” Data derived from Population Estimates, Census of Population and Housing, Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates, State and County Housing Unit Estimates, County Business Patterns, Nonemployer Statistics, Economic Census, Survey of Business Owners, Building Permits, Consolidated Federal Funds Report. Retrieved June 24, 2009,

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah Burd-Sharps
    • 1
  • Patrick Nolan Guyer
    • 1
  • Ted Lechterman
    • 1
  • Kristen Lewis
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.American Human Development ProjectSocial Science Research CouncilBrooklynUSA

Personalised recommendations