Access to education, socio-economic conditions and standards of health and life expectancy are all tied together and contribute to the overall well-being of the average American, Burd-Sharps said.
States that "invest" in these three areas are better prepared to stay afloat during hard economic times, such as the current recession, Burd-Sharps said. The states that don't, "don't bounce back afterward," she said.
Among the report's other findings:
| About 82 percent of West Virginia residents have a high school diploma, compared to 85 percent nationally.
| About 17 percent of state residents have at least a college bachelor's degree, compared to 27.7 percent nationally.
| About 6.7 percent have a graduate or professional degree, compared to 10.2 percent nationally
| About 83.7 percent of school-age children are enrolled in school; compared to 87.3 percent nationally.
| West Virginia's median income is $24,404, compared to $29,755 nationally.
The Human Development Index's top five are Connecticut, Massachusetts, the District of Columbia, New Jersey and Maryland. The bottom five states are Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas and West Virginia.
Reach Veronica Nett at veroni...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5113.