According to Gallup USA, Arizona ranks #9 out of all U.S. states on measures relating to personal well-being. The areas of well-being analyzed for the "2015 Well-Being Index" were physical, social, financial, community, and purpose. Arizona's ranks among the states across those factors were as follows: [Purpose: 6; Social: 7; Financial: 23; Community: 16; Physical Health: 8]
Featured Indicators Data
Some key highlights from the report: "Arizona earned an F in six of the 13 categories, getting failing grades in lobbying oversight, pension management, ethics enforcement, executive accountability, civil service protections and access to information." and "Almost across the board, Arizona agencies consistently fail to follow key principles for "opening up" government data, which the Sunlight Foundation, a nonprofit watchdog group, circulated in 2010 as a policy prescription to make information “open and accessible to the public.”
According to the 2015 report from the Institute for Women's Policy Research, "Status of Women in the States," Arizona earns a C- grade for the composite index, comparing wages for men and women, and is also at the bottom end of a ranking of the states based the change in earnings since 1999. The percentage of women in the workforce stands at 48th in the nation with 54 percent in the labor force. However, the relative wage gap has us ranked at #17 among the states, which is a relatively good showing, albeit with much more work to be done to raise earnings statewide.
Recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits will face cuts to their food budget this November when the temporary boost provided by the 2009 Recovery Act ends. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, that loss translates to $29/month for a family of three and brings the average benefit per person per meal to less than $1.40 in 2014. In Arizona, where the share of residents receiving SNAP benefits has climbed from 5% in 2000 to 17% in 2012, these cuts will impact over 1.1 million people. For families that are already living on the edge, these cuts are expected to have a deep impact. View more Arizona-specific data here.
Text: A new study by a team of top economists reveals some harsh truths about income mobility in the U.S. One key finding is the role that location plays in the likelihood that a child will rise to a higher income level in adulthood. For metropolitan Phoenix, the chance that a child raised in the bottom fifth will attain top fifth status is 7.8%. These odds are slightly below a child raised in Denver, Las Vegas or Houston, and well below Los Angeles (9.6) and Salt Lake (11.5). The South is plagued with the worst income mobility, including major metros like Atlanta (4%). Interestingly, location specific factors like tax credits for the poor, higher taxes for top earners, and the number of local colleges and their tuition rates had no major effect on income mobility. One factor that did matter was the degree to which poor families were distributed across mixed-income neighborhoods. Areas with better K-12 schools, higher civic engagement and more two-parent families also fared better. Overall, the study shows that income mobility falls short of the American Dream mantra and that where you grow up matters.
According to the 2013 Kids Count report, Arizona's children have lost ground on a number of key indicators including poverty (27%), percentage of low-birth weight babies (7.1%), and the number of children in single-parent families (40%). The story is concerning even when you look at metrics where Arizona has improved, like the share of children not attending preschool (67%), since Arizona's position is far worse than the national average (54%). Similarly, the number of uninsured children in Arizona dropped from 16% in 2008 to 13% in 2011, but nationally that figure is just 7%. There is much work to be done to ensure that Arizona's children have their basic needs met and that they start on a level playing field with their peers nationally.
AZ Youth Face Tough Odds
According to the 2014 Kids Count Data Book, Arizona still compares unfavorably on key indicators of child well-being, ranking 4th worst overall.
Losing ground since 2008:
- Children whose parents lack secure employment (34%)
- Children living in high-poverty areas (22%)
- Children in single-parent families (38%)
Making progress since 2008:
- Child & teen deaths per 100,000 (28)
- Children not attending preschool (67%)
- High school students not graduating on time (23%)
Brookings Mountain West
Morrison Institute for Public Policy and Brookings Institution are now partners in Brookings Mountain West, a collaboration of Brookings Institution and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas that conducts research on economic growth, demographic change, infrastructure improvement, environmental impact, alternative energy, and real estate investment in the Intermountain West. Check out the latest output from Mountain Monitor.
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Check out Population Basics, an interactive tool that allows you to explore demographic data about Arizona, our 15 counties, and metro Phoenix and Tucson. If you prefer raw data, explore the demographics section of our Google Spreadsheets collection: