The Measure of America

From the Columbia University Press blog:

AppYesterday, at a press conference in Washington D.C., the authors of The Measure of America: American Human Development Report 2008-2009 discussed the results of their groundbreaking study on the health and well-being of the United States.The report reveals some of the huge disparities in health, income, education, and living standards that exist in the United States.

You can find out much more about the report at the very impressive Web site, The site lists key findings from the report (some of which are below), a Well-O-Meter which allows you to approximate your own human development index by answering a series of question, interactive maps, and tables. 

Finally, you can also download a podcast interview with the authors Sarah Burd-Sharps and Kristen Lewis.

Some key findings from the The Measure of America:

* The U.S. ranks #24 among the 30 most affluent countries in life expectancy – yet spends more on health care than any other nation.

* One American dies every 90 seconds from obesity-related health problems.

* Fourteen percent of the population – some 30 million Americans – lacks the literacy skills to perform simple, everyday tasks like understanding newspaper articles and instruction manuals.

* Educational expenditures vary significantly by state; New Jersey and New York spend around $14,000 per pupil, Utah spends less than $6,000 per pupil.

* African American students are three times more likely than whites to be placed in special education programs, and only half as likely to be placed in gifted programs.

* The top 1 percent of U.S. households possesses a full third of America’s wealth.

More here.