The American Dream Prosperity Index

The American Dream Prosperity Index

Publication date: 
January, 2023

The American Dream Prosperity Index contains 200 indicators from 90+ data sources, providing a comprehensive assessment of prosperity across all 50 states, D.C., and 1,481 counties.

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 society is prosperous when it has effective institutions, an open economy, and empowered people who are healthy and educated.

Prosperity is a multidimensional concept, captured through three domains, which are the essential foundations of prosperity — Inclusive Societies, Open Economies, and Empowered People.

The Inclusive Societies domain captures the relationship structures that exist within a society, between and among individuals and broader institutions, and the degree to which they either enable or obstruct societal cohesion and collective development. These social and legal institutions are essential in protecting the fundamental freedoms of individuals, and their ability to flourish. This domain consists of the Safety and Security, Personal Freedom, Governance, and Social Capital pillars.

The Open Economies domain captures the extent to which an economy is open to competition, encourages innovation and investment, promotes business and trade, and facilitates inclusive growth. For a society to be truly prosperous, it requires an economy that embodies these ideals. This domain consists of the Business Environment, Infrastructure, and Economic Quality pillars.

The Empowered People domain captures the quality of people’s lived experience and the associated aspects that enable individuals to reach their full potential through autonomy and self-determination. This domain consists of the Living Conditions, Health, Education, and Natural Environment pillars.

Together, these domains comprise 11 pillars. For each of the pillars we identified the core concepts that best define them, and are integral to each of them, comprising a structure which:

  • covers all aspects relevant to the pillar;

  • has conceptual clarity and academic backing; and

  • uses a language that speaks to policymakers and others.

The result is a set of 49 distinct policy-focused elements, organized under the 11 pillars. Each element has been designed to reflect a discrete policy area that policymakers and others can influence, enabling actionable insight to be generated to help drive policy and other initiatives.

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