Family Prosperity: A Needed Change for Rhode Island


The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity today issued the Ocean State’s iteration of the American Conservative Union’s Family Prosperity Index report, making Rhode Island the second state explored in detail.  An associated Web site for the state is also up now.

The index incorporates a broad variety of demographic and economic data to compare how well states are performing for the families who live within their borders, and not surprisingly, Rhode Island ranks an abysmal 48th.  From the report:

… the FPI research suggests that economic hardship can often lead to adverse personal or social consequences, and vice versa. The issue of drug abuse, which has long been a concern for families and for the business community in Rhode Island, provides a clear example of this linkage. As we will discuss later, Rhode Island ranks worst in the nation in terms of illicit drug use. To its credit, in 2016, Rhode Island took action to address this disturbing trend.

With the Ocean State ranking nationally in the bottom 10 on the FPI Economics index, as well as the entrepreneurship and unemployment sub-indexes, it isn’t a surprise that the associated personal fnancial distress has an impact on its residents’ personal behavior.

An introductory report is obviously just a starting point, and the initiative’s data for the whole country is online already in interactive format.  We’ve already been making use of it, in this space, noting for example evidence that Rhode Island’s economic and civic reality is actually spurring two conflicting reactions among its people: one to retrench toward healthy behavior and one to compensate for difficulties with unhealthy behavior.  Unfortunately, our elected officials seem more inclined to implement policies that favor the unhealthy behavior and impede the healthy (arguably to fertilize the government plantation).

To help make the case that Rhode Island needs a new direction, the Rhode Island site is encouraging Rhode Islanders to tell their own stories, whether negative or positive, and is hosting a leadership forum in cooperation with the Hassenfeld Institute for Public Leadership at Bryant University on January 17 (RSVP at the link).