American Dream Case Study – Texas versus Florida

Ed BurghardTexas: Wide Open For Business.

(Texas Wide Open for Business website)

Florida: The Perfect Climate For Business.

(Perfect Climate For Business website)

 

Case Study

This is one in a series of case studies to illustrate how you can use the 2012 American Dream State Ranking Report data to identify the comparative strengths and weaknesses of your state for use in a SWOT analysis.

Analysis Approach

I compare the two states based on the 35 dimensions captured in the 2012 American Dream State Ranking Report.  In this analysis, an advantage is defined as equal to or greater than an index of 105 for a specific dimension score.  A disadvantage is defined as equal to or less than an index of 95 for a specific dimension score.

Identified Points Of Difference

Texas vs Florida

Click on the image to make it larger.

Additional Perspective

The ADCI data reflect the outlook of people living in each state.  Reasons why people responded as they did cannot be determined from these data.  However, understanding the why behind the what is important to being able to define strategies that can better enable people living in your state to achieve the American Dream.

To that end, I did a Google search to find some clues to shed light on the why.  This is not intended to be a complete, nor balanced comparison between the two states.  It is simply intended to suggest there may be an underlying reason why people living in each state responded as they did.  The next step should be for local economic development professionals to conduct market research with people living in their state in order to better understand the true drivers of why they are feeling the way they do.  The research could be qualitative, quantitative or a combination of both.

Google Search Findings

Texas (#16) is ranked better than Florida (#24) based on cost-benefit.

Florida (#6) is ranked higher than Texas (#14) on education quality.

Median Household Income is higher in Texas (#25)  than Florida (#37).

Texas (#34) ranked higher than Florida (#41) in businesses and jobs.

Unemployment is lower in Texas (6.2%) than Florida (7.9%).

Interpretation

Remember, the American Dream Composite Index™ is a measure of sentiment.  It reveals what people living in a state do, strive for, work for, wish for, and ultimately hope for as they assume multiple roles, including but not limited to, consumers, parents, children, students, employees, employers, parishioners, voters, etc.

The survey conducted by Xavier University contains 139 statements pertaining to various aspects of the American Dream.  Responses comprise the 35 dimensions that ultimately make-up the ADCI.  The survey instrument has been statistically validated.

The ADCI data reveal HOW people living in a state feel about their personal well-being and environment.  However, the data do not explain WHY people feel the way they do.  The ADCI allows economic developers to better understand opportunities for improving their state’s ability to enable the American Dream.  It also helps them identify potential competitive advantages and vulnerabilities versus other states.

Interpret the survey data as “This is the way people living in my state feel about their ability to achieve their definition of the American Dream”.

Discussion

The intent behind sharing the study results is to raise important questions that are beyond the scope of these data to answer.  The kind of questions that, when answered, will provide you insight into which barriers to achieving the American Dream you should be working to remove.

I have no doubt some economic development professionals will be dissatisfied with their state’s rank.  This is totally understandable.  I am actually not thrilled with where my state  ended up in the ranking.

But, please don’t ignore the ranking.  Instead, use it to encourage local work in answering the WHY question.  Why do people living in your state feel the way they do?  Answering this question will provide valuable insights to use in your state’s economic development strategic planning process.

Additional Case Studies

Indiana versus Michigan

Florida versus North Carolina

New York versus New Jersey

California versus Texas

Pennsylvania versus New York

So, which states offer their residents the greatest chance of living the American Dream to the fullest, and which states are lagging behind?

To view the complete set of State rankings based on the ADCI and five explanatory sub-indexes, simply click this button

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For additional information on the ADCI click HERE.

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3 Comments so far

  1. Rollie Cole

    March 7, 2013

    Texas, in my experience of living in 5 other states before moving here, has a self-reputational advantage that should be considered when comparing opinion surveys versus other states. That is, Texans like Texas more loudly and explicitly, if not more overall, than Floridans like Florida or Hoosiers like Indiana, etc. So opinion surveys in Texas about Texas as a whole, or about Texas versus other states, are generally going to get more positive responses than surveys in another state about that state.
    The “quiet pride” others feel about their states is less likely than the “loud pride” Texans feel about Texas to produce really positive survey results.

    At the moment, some of the “objective” conditions in Texas are very good (eg, unemployment); some are very bad (eg, K-12 completion) compared to other states. But my guess is that Texas will always do better in “how much do you like your state” surveys, regardless of the objective conditions.
    Rollie Cole, PhD, JD
    Founder, Fertile Ground for Startups, Small Firms, and Nonprofits
    “Think Small to Grow Big”

  2. Ed Burghard

    March 8, 2013

    Rollie – You may be interested in this presentation from Xavier University. It provides additional perspective on their work to understand the American Dream. http://www.xavier.edu/americandream/documents/Second-Annual-American-Dream-Survey.pdf

  3. Ed Burghard

    March 8, 2013

    Rollie – I asked the Team at Xavier University for perspective on your question. Here is their response. Hope it is helpful.

    “The answer lies in that people are not responding as Texans, they are responding as people living in the U.S. They are simply in a respondent pool and are not being told that their responses have anything to do with Texas. If we were to do this, everyone would step up and defend their states.

    In short, the sentiment is about one’s personal life, not their life as a Texan.”

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