Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Third World States?

My son, Geoff, shared this article with me where the author compares the fifty states with other countries using the human development index.

This map is based on numbers from this table, which come from the American Human Development Report. It gives a good sense of regional patterns of human development in the US and the comparative relationship of states to each other. But the numbers in the abstract don't tell us much; to see what these numbers mean, we need to compare them to other countries. And when we do that, we see that the HDI of many states are comparable to some of the most developed countries in the world. However, other states have HDI scores well outside the range of the developed economies of Europe and Asia.

To illustrate the point, I am now going to make a long list. These are the 76 top countries ranked by human development index score, with the 50 states interposed to show their relative level of development, based on the two tables linked above:


8. Japan - .956
9. Luxembourg - .956
10. Switzerland - .955
11. France - .955
Vermont - .955
Washington - .955
Alaska - .955
67. Belarus - .817
Tennessee - .816
Oklahoma - .815
Alabama - .809
68. Macedonia - .808
69. Albania - .807
70. Brazil - .807
71. Kazakhstan - .807
72. Ecuador - .807
73. Russia - .806
Arkansas - .803
74. Mauritius - .802
75. Bosnia and Herzegovina - .802
Louisiana - .801
West Virginia - .800
Mississippi - .799
76. Turkey - .798

Our state seems to be doing well, but I can't say the same for Mississippi, state number 50 in the list. During my six years in Alabama I noticed they were always thankful for Mississippi because when it came to anything good for people, Mississippi always ranked below Alabama. Not, as you can see, that Alabama was a whole lot better.

1 comment:

Lucas said...

I lived in MS for a while. It was pretty bad. My wife is from here and the first time I took her down to NE Texas/SW Arkansas where I am from and she saw the level of endemic poverty on the road to Hope, AR (we were planning to visit Clinton's childhood home) she was appalled. Living in Spokane for the last 10 years has been like living in another country compared to my experiences in the South.