Mapping Opportunity in America

by Matt Ball on November 17, 2010

The website has interactive online maps that allow you to explore metrics for health, education and income. The site is an initiative of the Social Science Research Council, and a means to display research of the American Human Development Project.

“Our broad goal is to push for better measures of progress and opportunity that move beyond our over-reliance on economic metrics alone. Money and economic growth are vital, but they are means to an end, not an end in themselves. Growth is only valuable if it enables more people to live lives that are long, healthy, safe, and free, to realize their full potential, and to develop the capabilities that allow them to thrive rather than merely survive.”

The composite human development index is comprised of health metrics, such as life expectancy after birth, access to knowledge, and median earnings. The sum metrics are then provided as maps, charts, stacks (comparing different race, gender, and locations).

Tours through the states and municipalities provides interesting insights. The data can be displayed by different geographies, such as by state or congressional district, and can be presented for specific ethnicity. There are data sets for 2008-2009 as well as 2010-2011. You’re even free to take your own stab at parsing and presenting as the data is available for free download in Excel format.

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