Just spent the better part of the morning browsing the The Measure of America 2010-2011: Mapping Risks and Resilience, a report released this morning by the Brooklyn-based nonprofit Social Science Research Council. It's a profoundly long look at the well-being of the country, three components specifically: How smart we are (or aren't); how much money we have (or don't); and how long we'll live (or won't). It's both nitty and gritty, using '08 Census Bureau data that goes state by state, congressional district by congressional district, suburb by suburb, ethnic group by ethnic ... well, you get the point. (You can spend all day getting lost in the interactive map, searchable by zip code.)
John Keaten, who's handling PR for the project, says he'll get Unfair Park the Dallas "drill-downs" not in the report before lunch; we'll post upon their arrival. But first thing's first: As you can see from the chart at top, Dallas -- where the life expectancy's 78.5 years and the median salary's around $31,000 -- ranks ninth among the top 10 metros on the HD index. Which is but the tip of the revelatory iceberg. As Sarah Burd-Sharps, co-author of the report, tells The Washington Post this morning, the top 10 metros may look more or less the same on the surface, but more often than not "there are enormous chasms when you pull the data apart." As in, from Page 51 of the report:
Many metro areas reveal major gaps between the HD Index of racial and ethnic groups. In the Dallas metropolitan area, Asian Americans have the highest HD Index (8.09) and Latinos the lowest (3.87). Although life expectancies for both groups are well above the average for the metro area as a whole, less than half (48.5 percent) of all Dallas-area Latinos had a high school diploma or its equivalent, while more than half (54.9 percent) of all Dallas-area Asian Americans had a bachelor's degree or higher. Median earnings for Dallas-area Asian Americans were more than $15,000 higher than median earnings for their Latino neighbors. All together, more than fifty years of human development separate these two Dallas-area communities.
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Like I said, Keaten's sending more Dallas "drill-downs" that went into the report-making but didn't make the report. Till then, it's available for purchase (and perusal) on Amazon in advance of launch parties today and next week.