Every state tries to make a productive environment where individuals and families can thrive. Over recent decades, Rhode Island has given generous public assistance programs as shown by the poor 2016 FPI rankings on Medicaid (48th) and Government Burden (37th). And while such programs are well-intended, what if we were to realize that this policy approach - that tries to fix the material hardships of our state’s people - has actually led to the unintended consequence of diminishing opportunity and overall family prosperity by ignoring their real needs? What if this fact served to harm family well-being and forced other Rhode Islanders to leave for states that offer an improved sense of hope and prosperity?
The Family Prosperity Index (FPI) measures the cultural fiber by looking at the degree to which each state offers an environment for families to thrive. Specifically, the FPI measures the economic and social factors that contribute to family prosperity, filling in the gaps around measures such as the state unemployment rate, which is solely an economic variable. A state that scores high on the FPI is one that is facilitating overall family well-being, whereas a state that scores low is moving in the opposite direction. When it comes to overall family prosperity, Rhode Island ranks 45th in the nation.
National research shows that strong families lead to a strong economy – and vice versa. The clear, empirical evidence from a detailed analysis of data from government and publicly-available private sources confirms that states and residents prosper when families are stronger, and that a stronger economy leads to stronger families.
Thee 2016 Rhode Island Family Prosperity Report showed that our families suffered especially in the areas of out- migration, self-sufficiency, family structure, economics, and family health (especially illicit drug use). The report also demonstrated that the best path to upward mobility is through work and marriage.
The 2017 data shows slight overall improvement, but our state still ranks a discouraging 45th nationally.
Read the report now. Click on the links below to be taken to a pdf of each section.
Intro: Taillights or headlights?