The Human Development (HD) Index, a unique and valuable tool developed by the American Human Development Project, is a quality of life indicator comprised of three elements: health, knowledge, and standard of living.
The three components are based on over 100 variables ranging from typical demographic data such as education, income, and employment to health measures including the percentage of the population with diabetes, the number of practicing physicians per 10,000 population and sixteen other specific health factors. The HD Index also includes economic development data (i.e. state spending on R & D) and detailed environmental data such as the amount of dioxin released by state and the number of acres of protected forest land.
The index provides a single number (ranging from 0 to 10) that enables easy comparison among states. Indices for health, education and income are also included. Interactive maps enable users to obtain HD Indices (and limited data) at the Congressional District level. This site also includes interactive charts that list the variables used to calculate each index.
However, perhaps the most useful feature of this site is the ability to download the 100+ variables for all fifty states. And, the most valuable feature is the fact that all the sources are included for each variable when you download the data. This enables users to relatively easily obtain similar local for many of the variables.
This site also provides a quick tutorial to help you get started.
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