July 18, 2008

Once #1, Now #42!

A very significant report has been released and reviewed in a variety of places, but I haven't seen or heard reference to it in the mainstream American media (not counting an abstract in the oh, so popular (Ha!) The New Yorker. (You know, the magazine that featured a cover cartoon of Baraka Obama as a jihadist.) If you want to know where we stand, for real, not in wishful thinking, follow the links below:
About the Report
The Measure of America: American Human Development Report
2008-2009, produced by the American Human Development Project, is modeled on the United Nations Development Programme’s global Human Development Report, which has provided authoritative analysis and a ranked index for countries around the world for almost two decades. The Measure of America, published by Columbia University Press and The Social Science Research Council, is the first time the human development approach has been applied in the United States or any other industrialized nation. The report features forewords by Nobel laureate and Harvard Professor Amartya Sen and California venture capitalist William H. Draper III.
Using official government statistics and robust peer-reviewed analysis, the American Human Development Report presents human development rankings for U.S. states, congressional districts, and ethnic groups. It reveals where America is today and sets a benchmark for monitoring progress tomorrow. Unlike the many existing measurements used to assess health, education, or income alone, the American Human Development Index (HD Index) combines these factors into one easy-to-understand measurement. This more comprehensive measure allows for a better understanding of the opportunities open to different groups of Americans.

Take a test using the Well-O-Meter to see how you personally rank among your American peers: http://measureofamerica.org/rewrite.php?well-o-meter/

International Comparisons
  • A poor child born in Germany, France, Canada, or one of the Nordic countries has a better chance to join the middle class in adulthood than an American child born into similar circumstances.
  • The U.S. ranks second among 177 countries in per-capita income but 12th on human development, according to the global Human Development Index, published annually by the United Nations Development Programme. Each of the 11 countries ahead of the U.S. has a lower per-capita income than the U.S., but all perform better on the health and knowledge dimensions.
  • The U.S. infant mortality rate is on par with that of Croatia, Cuba, Estonia, and Poland.
  • If the U.S. infant mortality rate were equal to that of first-ranked Sweden, twenty-one thousand more American babies would have lived to celebrate their first birthdays in 2005.
  • In 98 countries, new mothers have 14 or more weeks of paid maternity leave. The U.S. has no federally mandated paid maternity leave.
  • The United States ranks second in the world in per-capita income (behind Luxembourg), but thirty-fourth in survival of infants to age one.
  • The U.S. ranks forty-second in global life expectancy and first among the world’s twenty-five richest countries in the percentage of children living in poverty.
  • In the 2006 OECD international assessment of fifteen-year-olds, in math, the U.S. came in twenty-fourth, and in science, the U.S. came in seventeenth.
  • The U.S. incarceration rate is five-to-nine times greater than that of our peer nations.

The Guardian covered the report here:
Statistics and graphs were generated by a company called Humantific. Here’s something from their homepage:
At Humantific we apply hybrid methods from the emerging/converging fields of design thinking, innovation acceleration and transformation science. Working with this hybrid toolbox we help our clients construct new value by creating pathways through fuzzy strategic complexity of all kinds, by communicating complex ideas, and by building more human-centered organizations that maximize collective brainpower and are adaptable to continuous change.
Regardless of whether we are working on an InsightsLab, StrategyLab, UnderstandingLab, or LearningLab project, it is SenseMaking that is the connecting thread through all of our ChangeMaking work.
See more here: http://www.humantific.com/

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