ON-Lion Letter
"Wendy Warcholik and Scott Moody are a husband and wife research team who have spent the last couple years working on what they call the Family Prosperity Index," begins an early-June post on The Weekly Standard's website by Jonathan V. Last.  "What they've done is create a database of indicators that demonstrate -- in rigorous, econometric terms -- what many conservatives have intuitively understood about family structures and economics.

"Namely this:  There is a real and measurable link between traditional social indicators -- rates of marriage and divorce and out-of-wedlock-births -- and economic prosperity," Last continues.  "Or to put it another way, if you get married and stay married, and don't have children out-of-wedlock, you tend to do pretty well in life.

"But what the Family Prosperity Index demonstrates is that this isn't just true at the individual level.  It's true at the state level, as well," he goes on.

"Warcholik and Moody ranked the states by a number of measures and one of the truths that becomes clear is that states with strong family measures do very well economically," according to Last.  "Take Utah. The index looks at a list of economic indicators, including household income, cost of living, and unemployment.  It then plots against a number of social factors, such as divorce rates, percentage of children living in married-couple households, births to unwed mothers, and drug use.  And Utah ranks 10th in the country in the economic index and first in family structure, family health, and family self-sufficiency.

"The Family Prosperity Index is a good reminder that even in the midst of a political season that has been essentially devoid of serious discussion about how to improve the country," he concludes, "there are smart folks out there doing the quiet, difficult work of trying to understand, and solve, America's problems."

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee substantially supports the Family Prosperity Initiative, of which the index is the principal project.
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