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The Measure of America presents a modified American Human Development Index. The American HD Index measures the same three basic dimensions as the standard HD Index, but it uses different indicators to better reflect the U.S. context and to maximize use of available data. For example, while the standard index measures access to knowledge using the average number of years that students spend in school, we have chosen instead to use educational attainment, a more demanding indicator.

While data are plentiful on the extremes of affluence and deprivation in the United States, the American Human Development Index provides a single measure of well-being for all Americans, disaggregated by state and congressional district, as well as by gender, race, and ethnicity. All data used in the index come from official U.S. government sources—the American Community Survey of the U.S. Census Bureau and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The data included in the American Human Development Index will help us understand variations among regions and groups. It is a snapshot of America today. Moreover, the index will serve as a baseline for monitoring future progress.