Which State Is Ranked #1 In The Nation By Residents For Fairness and Trustworthiness?

Ed BurghardA little girl and her father were crossing a bridge.
The father was kind of scared so he asked his little daughter:
“Sweetheart, please hold my hand so that you don’t fall into the river.”

The little girl said:
“No, Dad. You hold my hand.”

“What’s the difference?” Asked the puzzled father.

“There’s a big difference,” replied the little girl.

“If I hold your hand and something happens to me, chances are that I may let your hand go. But if you hold my hand, I know for sure that no matter what happens, you will never let my hand go.”

In any relationship, the essence of trust is not in its bind, but in its bond. So hold the hand of the person whom you love rather than expecting them to hold yours…

By Edward Burghard

Trust in People & Institutions

The power of the American Dream Composite Index research is found in understanding the 5 sub-indexes and 35 dimensions that comprise the ADCI.

The American Dream Societal sub-index measures the extent of resident belief that government, businesses and people are fair and trustworthy.  It is developed from the following dimensions:

  • Trust in Government
  • Trust in Business
  • Just Society
  • Trust in People
  • Education Quality
  • Safety in Travel
  • Safety in Community
  • Civic Participation

This is the sub-index that provides an indicator of how progressive a community is likely to be.  Confidence and trust are necessary conditions for taking the risk involved in making progress.  This would suggest states where residents have greater trust might be better locations for risk-taking (e.g. entrepreneurial activity). The principles espoused in Stephen Covey’s book “The Speed of Trust” are instructional for economic development.  Stephen’s Fourth Wave discussion is about trust in business, and his Firth Wave discussion is about societal trust.

How many communities have a strategy of always being trustworthy?  My guess is few if any.  And why not?  If residents view fairness and trustworthiness as an integral part of their American Dream, why should’t state and community leaders make it a priority and strive to ensure businesses and government are both fair and trustworthy?  Covey provides practical insights into how to go about doing this with advise like “Trust is equal parts character and competence… You can look at any leadership failure, and it’s always a failure of one or the other.”  States and communities that focus on building resident trust and fairness will have a distinct competitive advantage in attracting capital investment and top talent.  It is one way to create a virtuous circle for sustainable economic success.

What Do The Data Tell You?

The ADCI data reflect the sentiment of residents.  If you think about it, these are the people in the best position to assess how easy it is to achieve their American Dream, and as a consequence their perspective is worth paying attention to.  Resident sentiment is measured through a validated questionnaire.  To produce the Report, the data collected from residents in each state throughout calendar 2013 have been compiled to create a 12-month snap shot.  The intent of the Report is to help economic development professionals and elected officials better understand where the state might have opportunities to better enable residents to achieve their American Dream.  This can be done by comparing one state’s dimension scores with other states that might be seen as competitive for capital investment or attraction of top talent.  It is important to note the data inform HOW residents are feeling, but do not explain the sentiment drivers behind WHY they feel that way.  Answering the WHY question requires additional local market research.

How Were The Sub-Indexes Determined?

In general, the Xavier University team did an exhaustive literature review along with both qualitative and quantitative market research to identify an initial list of dimensions that make up the American Dream.  Questions or statements were generated to measure each dimension.  Then two separate large-scale quantitative studies were used to statistically validate and refine the questionnaire.  Finally, three nationally representative samples were used to validate the ADCI, and factor analysis was used to verify that each dimension was sound.  The result of all this work was 35 dimensions that are grouped into five statistically sound and validated sub-indexes.

more complete description of the process is available on the Xavier University website.

What Is Your State’s Ranking?

Utah is Ranked as the #1 State in the Nation for Well-Being Conditions That Enable Residents to Achieve Their American Dream.

American Dream Duck Cover

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Note:  The goal of the rankings is to educate readers about the American Dream and stimulate a conversation around how residents can be better enabled to achieve more of their American Dream.  For purposes of State Rankings, the ADCI data is considered secondary data.  The ADCI research hypothesis is to value the American Dream as a nation (all 50 states and DC together).  Respondents self-identify their states (this is verified with PII data) every month, but this information is only used as a balancing item for state population strata based on the most recent census.  The State Ranking is non-scientific and done as an illustrative piece by the Burghard Group for the purpose of educating leaders on the quality of life around the country.  It is impossible to accurately measure the error rate given that neither a uniform nor standard rate is gathered from each state every month.  Data is compiled for the year for each state and then evaluated.  Readers of the Report are encouraged to check their state’s ADCI scores against relative Region scores and the national scores for a well balanced perspective on overall performance. 

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