November 29th, 2010 | Uncategorized

Connecticut’s human development is tops in U.S.

Connecticut is the best state and the third best place in the world to live, according to a chart published in the Economist earlier this month that compared the development of U.S. states to all countries. It falls only behind ever-frozen Norway and Germany. A post on the magazine’s blog says:

The human development index (HDI) is an attempt to give a snapshot of a country’s success by combining three important indicators: health, education and wealth. The most recent global HDI ranking from the United Nations’ Development Programme places Norway top, with the United States fourth (out of 169 countries). But with over 300 [million] people living in 50 states, America varies greatly, so the American Human Development Project releases a state-based version of the HDI.

The Economist then combined these two indexes to see how U.S. states stack up. Behind Connecticut, the chart shows four states — Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York — and the District of Columbia ranking ahead of the third most-developed nation, Sweden. Overall, the United States has the eighth highest development index, just ahead of Canada and Japan.

  • ygrd

    This analysis is an absurd way to rank “best place to live” as the article claims. In the US, two of the factors considered – health, education, – are closely tied to the last one: wealth. For those not well-off enough to live in Connecticut’s gated mansions, Sweden, Canada, and Japan are probably better places to live.

  • ElizabethGrayHenry

    I really don’t think wealth is a way to judge where is the best place to live. I am from Mississippi, the poorest, least healthy, least educated state in America, but Mississippi is a better place to live based on a sense of community, lifestyle, and happiness than Connecticut is. Come to Mississippi, and you’ll see it’s true. I guarantee that people in Mississippi are happier than people in Connecticut.

  • ScottHealy

    I love how Yale students cling to innacurate Connecticut stereotypes.

    ygrd, only a tiny fraction of Connecticut’s residents live in “gated mansions.” Fairfield County, a sliver of wealthy suburbs, certainly has its share of ostentation. But despite the area’s outsized influence on Yalies’ perceptions of Connecticut, that part of the state is by no means representative.

    The reason CT has such a statistically high per capita income is that even its most rural counties are solidly middle-class. Fairfield Co’s pocket of privilege raises the state’s average income, but census data shows that the state’s overall economic health stems from an across-the-state population of hard-working, well-educated people. Most are not super wealthy, but on average, they contribute to keeping the state’s position as a leader in the knowledge-based economy.

    In a nutshell: CT’s a good place to live not just because of a wealthy few, but because on average, a kid growing up in CT is more likely to get a good public education, health care, and a safety net of public services.

    Elizabeth, I don’t agree that people in Mississippi are happier–and have a better sense of community–than people in CT. I grew up in a beautiful, small New England town in eastern CT, not unlike hundreds of neighborhoods throughout my state. It’s laughable to think that, just because you’re temporarily at school in New Haven, you somehow understand what it’s like to grow up in a tight-knit community in CT. You don’t, just as I don’t know what it’s like to grow up in MS. But I’m deeply proud of where I grew up, the friends I made there, and the way that my town took care of me, including giving me an excellent public education, caring teachers and neighbors, a profound sense of history, and eventually, even a scholarship to Yale. Where I grew up was idyllic not because it was wealthy–it’s not–but because people there are the kind of good neighbors that you’d be pleased to meet in MS.

    What you cannot deny, however, is that MS has a long, troubled history with race relations, entrenched poverty, underfunded public education, teen pregnancy, and a high per capita crime rate–a set of challenges that too often place Mississippi near the bottom of many indices of economic and educational development. I think it’s hard to make the argument that people are at their happiest when they’re worried about crime, job security, educational quality, or paying for health care they can’t afford. I’m sure there are places that provide idyllic surroundings and community-mindedness in MS, but when tough economic and social conditions make life on average more difficult, the result is a place that frankly doesn’t do its best to help people achieve a better quality of life.

    Again, I don’t know MS–I’ve only visited. But please, don’t perpetuate inaccurate Yalie perceptions of Connecticut as a snooty, gated place with no sense of community. That notion is wrong, unfair, and tired.

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