What Does It Take To Be An American Dream State?

Ed Burghard

In a democracy, people get the government they deserve

Alexis de Toqueville (or maybe Joseph de Maistre)

In 2014, gubernatorial elections will be held in 36 states and three territories. There are 31 incumbent governors eligible to run for reelection and eight incumbent governors who are term-limited or have announced they will not seek reelection.

You will be ideally electing Governors with the hope that their Administration will help make it easier for you, as a resident of that state, to achieve your American Dream.  Consequently, it is important to understand if your current Governor has made it easier or harder to achieve the American Dream in your state.  If the answer is harder, then you need to determine what will be different in the next four years versus the last that would give you confidence the situation will change.

State Report Card

To help you assess your State performance in enabling the American Dream, I have put together a 2013 Report Card. It assigns a letter grade to each State’s performance.  This Report Card is intended to stimulate a discussion by providing a unique way of looking at an incumbent’s impact on enabling the American Dream for the residents of your State.  It is important bro note, the data represent the sentiment of people living in each State. The logic is that nobody knows the State better than its residents do.

American Dream States

New Mexico
District of Columbia
South Carolina

There are only 6 American Dream States.  These are States where resident sentiment regarding their ability to achieve their American Dream indexes 105 or greater to national average.

Opportunities For Improvement

Comparing your State performance versus the cohort of American Dream States can provide insight into opportunities for improvement. Areas where your Governor might consider making a priority to better understand and then eliminate the barriers you face to achieving your American Dream.

The following chart looks at State performance versus the average of the American Dream States.  If the resident’s sentiment score indexed 95 or less compared to the American Dream State cohort, the ADCI and/or sub-index performance is color coded red.  These represent areas where the State has to make a resident noticeable improvement to compete with the American Dream States.

Click on the chart to make it bigger.

State Opportunities copy

Sub-Index Definitions

Here is how Xavier University describes the ADCI sub-indexes.

ADCI measures resident well-being as a function of the multifaceted American Dream. The ADCI takes into account all aspects of life in its calculation. It measures true aspiration.

American Dream Economic Index measures one’s satisfaction, freedom, and progress with respect to their finances, job, hone ownership and health care.

American Dream Well-Being Index measures the extent of one’s contentment, health, and prosperity in life.

American Dream Societal Index measures the extent to which the government, businesses, and people are fair and honest.

American Dream Diversity Index measures the attitudes toward the assimilation of differences in one’s community.

American Dream Environmental Index measures the extent of pollution in the air, food, water and land one encounters on a regular basis.


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