The United States Prosperity Index 2020

This latest report from UK think tank the Legatum Institute measures prosperity in the U.S. at a state and county level.

Genuine prosperity is about far more than a society’s economy or an individual’s financial wealth; it represents an environment in which everybody is able to reach their full potential. A nation is prosperous when it has effective institutions, an open economy, and empowered people who are healthy and educated. The United States is one of the world’s economic powerhouses. It is open, with strong infrastructure and competitive markets in which individuals and businesses have easy access to finance, and its productive capacity is higher than almost all similar countries. In the main, its institutions are robust, its education system is one of the best in the world, and the majority of citizens feel connected to each other and engaged in society. However, the U.S. under-performs in areas such as safety and security, health, and living conditions. As a result, the country is ranked just 18th out of 167 countries in the Legatum Prosperity Index, and has not advanced in the rankings for the last decade.

This year’s report presents an update on the prosperity of the 50 states and Washington D.C., as well as providing a brand-new, in-depth analysis of prosperity across 829 counties in eight selected states (California, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Montana, New York, Oklahoma, and Texas). These Indexes have been purposefully designed to be transformational tools, that compliment each other. The comprehensive set of indicators provides a rich and policy-focused dataset, allowing the potential of all states (and all counties in the selected states) to be identified and understood. This enables much more targeted policy responses that can drive tangible improvements in prosperity. Our ambition is that national, state, and local governments, business leaders, investors, philanthropists, and civil society leaders across the U.S. will use the Index to help set their agendas for growth and development, and that others will use it to hold them to account.


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