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What Search Data Shows About Americans and Guns During the COVID-19 Crisis

April 28, 2020

With millions of Americans staying at home across the country during a crisis of intense emotional and economic stress, gun safety advocates have raised concerns about increased risks of unintentional shootings, domestic violence shootings, gun suicides, and city gun violence. Unprecedented spikes in background checks, meanwhile, reflect a dramatic increase in gun purchasing that compounds these risks.Federal background check data, however, fails to capture the full spectrum of ways that people acquire guns, as well as the number of people who are removing guns from gun lockers or other storage. In an effort to cast additional light on issues of firearm access during this stage of the COVID-19 crisis, we used real-time Google search data to gauge interest in buying and cleaning guns across the country.

A Tale of Two Recoveries: Economic Recoveries for Black and White Homeowners

June 19, 2015

America's racial wealth gap increased dramatically following the recent housing market collapse, placing black homeowners at severe economic disadvantage, perhaps for generations to come.A study conducted for the ACLU by the Social Science Research Council, examined data from the longitudinal Panel Study on Income Dynamics concerning black and white households that owned a home at some point between 1999 and 2011. The report explores the dramatic changes in wealth and home equity for these families over the course of that time period, and predicts how those changes might affect their children and grandchildren.

A Portrait Of California 2014-2015: California Human Development Report

November 30, 2014

This report takes a dramatically different approach to assessing the state's performance. Instead of relying on traditional economic analysis, Measure of America's A Portrait of California uses the human development approach to tell us how people are doing. Three dimensions -- a long and healthy life, access to knowledge, and a decent standard of living -- are examined in detail and presented along a simple ten-point scale: the American Human Development (HD) Index. A Portrait of California brings together data, innovative analysis, and the American HD Index methodology to enable "apples-to-apples" comparisons of California's counties, major cities, 265 Census Bureau -- defined areas, women and men, and racial and ethnic groups. It provides a gauge of how different groups of Californians are doing in comparison to one another and a benchmark for tracking progress over time.

Halve the Gap by 2030: Youth Disconnection in America's Cities

January 1, 2013

One in every seven Americans between the ages of 16 and 24—5.8 million young people in all—are neither working nor in school. These vulnerable teens and young adults are unmoored from institutions that provide knowledge, networks, skills, identity, and direction…. Most young people never recover from long spells of disconnection. They carry scars of their lost years for the rest of their lives in the form of lower wages and marriage rates, and higher incarceration and unemployment rates. Early spells of disconnection rain serious blows on long-term health, happiness, and job satisfaction" (p.5-6). This report uses updated data to build on a previous report that ranked the country's 25 largest metropolitan areas as well as the nation's largest racial and ethnic groups in terms of youth disconnection. The report also maps the landscape of youth disconnection and presents the data disaggregated by neighborhood cluster for twenty-five US metro areas.

Women's Well-Being: Ranking America's Top 25 Metro Areas

April 25, 2012

Analyzes American Human Development Index data on women's life expectancy, school enrollment and degree attainment, and median earnings by metropolitan area. Examines contributing factors and disparities by race/ethnicity, location, and marital status.

A Portrait of California: California Human Development Report 2011

May 20, 2011

Presents data on human development trends in the state, including indicators of health, education, and income by nativity, gender, race/ethnicity, economic region, and geography, and considers factors behind disparities in life expectancy and income.

A Century Apart: New Measures of Well-Being for U.S. Racial and Ethnic Groups

April 28, 2010

Our national conversation about race tends to take place in black and white, yet the greatest disparities in human well-being to be found in the U.S. are between Asian Americans in New Jersey and Native Americans in South Dakota. An entire century of human progress separates the worst-off from the best-off groups within the U.S., according to the latest update of the American Human Development (HD) Index. What's new in this report?American HD Index scores for racial and ethnic group in each state, using the most recent government data to create a composite measure of progress on health, education, and income indicators. Previous reports have presented scores for racial and ethnic groups for the entire country and within specific states. This is the first time that American HD Index scores have been computed for racial and ethnic groups in each state. Rankings by state, for each major racial and ethnic group, on the American HD Index. The index reveals that the starkest disparities in well-being fall not between blacks and whites, but between Native Americans and Asian Americans. Asian Americans as a group top the rankings, with Asian Americans in New Jersey coming in at number one. If current trends continue, it will take Native Americans in South Dakota an entire century to catch up with where New Jersey Asian Americans are now in terms of life expectancy, educational enrollment and attainment, and median earnings. Analysis of what's driving the differences in human development outcomes for different groups. Disaggregated data on life expectancy, educational enrollment, educational degree attainment, and median personal earnings, all from the latest official government releases. Although the numbers tell a sobering tale, this data can be the start of a conversation about where in the country different groups of Americans are thriving -- and where others are falling behind -- and why. A holistic approach using official statistics paints a picture of today and helps us monitor change for a better tomorrow; as such, the American HD Index can serve as a tool for action.

Health Care Doesn't Have to Cost an Arm and a Leg: 29 Reasons for Optimism from Comparisons between Countries and U.S. States

March 11, 2010

Residents of 29 countries live longer lives, on average, than Americans -- while spending up to eight times less on their health. A new report by American Human Development Project ranks the 50 states and Washington, D.C. against 80 countries in the world on life expectancy at birth, infant death rates, and annual per person spending on health care. The results powerfully demonstrate how better care and reining in costs are not incompatible.

A Portrait of Louisiana: Louisiana Human Development Report 2009

September 17, 2009

Louisiana ranks 49th among U.S. states and Washington, D.C. on the American Human Development Index, with wide disparities within the state. This new study examines disparities by parish, race, and gender in Louisiana, and calls for action to address the acute human vulnerability that persists today, four years after Hurricane Katrina. The report is commissioned by Oxfam America and the Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation, with funding from Oxfam America and the Foundation for the Mid South. What's new in this report? A human development index for Louisiana, using post-Katrina data, with rankings by parish groups, ethnicity and gender. The index reveals that while some groups within the state enjoy levels of well-being that surpass those of first-ranked Connecticut, others experience health, education, and income levels of the rest of the country thirty, forty, even fifty years ago; First-ever 2007 life expectancy calculations for all Louisiana parishes and for whites and African Americans in each parish; Reliable international comparisons of groups within Louisiana to well-being measures in other countries. African American life span in Louisiana today (72.2 years) is shorter than that in Colombia, Vietnam and Venezuela. Evidence from disaster recovery around the world suggests that the rebuilding phase often results in a further concentration of power and resources in the hands of elites. Through this research, we have calculated that federal hurricane recovery dollars directed to Louisiana thus far amount to nearly $15,000 for each and every man, woman, and child in the state. Ensuring that recovery benefits everyone requires that Louisiana state and local officials set concrete targets and provide easily understood reports to the general public on the use of recovery dollars. Equally critical is that the people of Louisiana and Mississippi raise their voices to demand accountability.

Goals for the Common Good: Exploring the Impact of Education

May 12, 2009

Those who advocate for greater investment in education often make the economic argument: more education leads to higher wages and is critical for financial stability and independence. They're right. Robust evidence supports the view that higher levels of educational attainment are linked to higher incomes, less unemployment, less poverty, and less reliance on public assistance. But education is about more than just better jobs and bigger paychecks, important though they are in making families and individuals more financially stable. More education is also linked to better physical and mental health, longer lives, fewer crimes, less incarceration, more voting, greater tolerance, and brighter prospects for the next generation. More education is good for individuals who stay in school to earn their high school degree or who enter and graduate college, but it is also good for all of us, paying big dividends in the form of increased civic engagement, greater neighborhood safety, and a healthy, vibrant democracy. This report is a companion piece to the online Common Good ForecasterTM, a joint product of United Way and the American Human Development Project. It takes a closer look at the ten indicators featured on the Forecaster and makes the case for why education matters to each of these critical areas. The Common Good ForecasterTM is an online tool available at and

A Portrait of Mississippi: Mississippi Human Development Report 2009

January 26, 2009

Mississippi ranks last among U.S. states on the American Human Development Index. But some groups in the state enjoy well-being levels similar to those in top-ranked Connecticut, while others experience levels of human development of the average American nearly a half century ago. The Mississippi State Conference NAACP commissioned this analysis by county, gender, and race to stimulate dialogue and action about Mississippi's disparities. Main Findings BY COUNTY: The top three county groups in the state, Rankin, Madison-Hinds, and DeSoto, are well ahead of the rest of the state in well-being with a human development level around the U.S. average. A resident of top-ranked Rankin County lives, on average, 6 years longer than a resident of the bottom-ranked Panola-Coahoma area, is 3 times more likely to complete college, and earns over $12,000 more. Mississippians living in Panola-Coahoma have a human development level similar to that of the average American in 1975, more than thirty years ago. BY RACE: Whites who are worst off in the entire state in terms of income are still better off than the vast majority of African Americans. Earnings for white Mississippians in all county groups spans from $22,000 to $38,000. For African Americans, the range is $13,000 to $25,000. An African American baby boy born today in Mississippi can expect a shorter lifespan than the average American in 1960. BY GENDER: Mississippi's females have a higher Human Development Index than do males, despite the fact that they earn 33 percent less, because females live over 5 years longer and have far higher rates of school enrollment. White men in Mississippi earn an average of $5,000 more per year than the typical American worker today, at $33,390. But white women have median personal earnings about equal to what typical Americans earned in 1980, $21,453. Main Recommendations Reduce infant mortality by improving health care for African American girls and women. African American babies die in Mississippi at more than twice the rate of white babies. The death of a child is a loss like no other, and the burden of grief borne by the African American community is heavy. The solution lies in ensuring that women have access to quality medical care and that girls grow to adulthood in an environment that supports them to eat a nutritious diet, get adequate exercise, manage chronic conditions like diabetes and HIV, cope with stress, and enjoy overall mental health. Improve the health of African American men. An African American baby boy born today in Mississippi can expect to live 68.2 years. This is a lifespan shorter than that of the average American in 1960. African American men in Mississippi die at higher rates than white men from the leading causes of death -- heart disease, cancer, and stroke -- as well as from other causes like homicide, accidents, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS. The premature loss of African American men is a source of both economic and emotional distress in African American communities. Improve the quality of public education in Mississippi. Mississippi has some of the worst scores in the nation on most measures of K -- 12 educational quality. It is difficult to imagine how the state can make economic progress when the future workforce is deprived of the opportunity to develop even basic skills, much less the higher-order skills needed to obtain better-paying jobs, such as independence of thought, communications skills, interpersonal skills, and technology literacy. Connect at-risk boys to school. About a third of Mississippi's African American men over 25 do not have a high school diploma. And today, still greater numbers of African American boys are leaving high school without graduating. Without a high school diploma, prison becomes a far likelier destination than college. The high rate of juvenile detention in Mississippi, especially for nonviolent offenses, is a worrisome impediment to long-term ability of African American boys to become productive members of society and to lead fulfilling lives of choice, freedom, and dignity. Ensure that working families can make ends meet. White men in Mississippi are, on average, earning about $5,000 more per year than the typical American worker today. But African American women today earn less than the typical American in 1960; African American men earn what typical Americans earned in 1970; and white women what typical Americans earned in 1980. More than one in five Mississippians lives below the poverty line; nearly seven in ten public school students qualifies for a subsidized lunch. Other states help working families meet a basic monthly budget with a state earned income tax credit, state minimum wages, affordable housing, affordable health care options, and subsidized childcare. Such policies help to create an infrastructure of opportunity for all.

The Measure of America Interactive Maps

July 16, 2008

Ever wondered how your state stacks up compared with others on obesity rates, SAT scores, or number of recent army recruits? How does your congressional district fare compared to your neighbors on life expectancy, high school dropout rates, or earnings? Find out with our mapping tool, which allows you to create customized maps by state or congressional district. We've also got interactive maps for Mississippi and Louisiana, the sources of two recent case studies on human development at the state level. These maps are customizable by county. Launch an interactive map of the United States and congressional districts.