PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island ranked third worst in the nation on the Family Prosperity Index, which studies the impact of the economy on families.
The index, created by the Washington, D.C.-based American Conservative Union Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes conservative principles, shows that Rhode Island families are not faring as well as lawmakers may believe, according to Mike Stenhouse, CEO for the Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity.
Stenhouse singled out the falling unemployment rate – which again declined in January to 5.3 percent, saying it provides a “narrow snapshot of employment” and gives lawmakers “false occasion to trumpet success.” He noted Rhode Island’s 48th place showing on the FPI, adding it also landed in the bottom 10 in five subcategories:
50th in family health
46th in family structure
46th in demographics
43rd in economics
42nd in family self-sufficiency
However, Rhode Island improved in the subcategory of family culture, coming in 25th.
Stenhouse said the center maintains that it is “indeed these grassroots, family-level shortcomings that are the root causes of the current economic malaise in the Ocean State, as opposed to lack of growth in elite, ‘advanced industries’ as suggested by the recent $1.3 million Brooking Institution report.”
Utah had the highest FPI index score, while New Mexico had the lowest.
The FPI measured the economic and social status of states in six categories – economics, demographics, family structure, family self-sufficiency, family culture and family health. It also looked at how public policy either positively or negatively affects families.
The foundation said the index data can be used to help policymakers, and civic and religious leaders to develop and advocate effectively for policies to improve the prosperity of families and communities where they live.