Description: Calling for a fundamental change in the focus of public policy in America, this book paints a vivid portrait of the nation's social health. Miringoff and Opdycke clearly show that social progress has stalled and the country's energies need to be directed at critical domestic issues in the years ahead.
The authors propose a new agenda for monitoring America's social well-being built around sixteen key indicators of American life, such as infant mortality, teenage suicide, health insurance coverage, and affordable housing. They maintain that social conditions, like economic conditions, must be constantly monitored in order to have a clear sense of "how we are doing" as a society.
The book builds on the work of the Institute for Innovation in Social Policy and argues that there needs to be a greater visibility for social issues--and a closer link between social reporting and public action--to better address the nation's social problems. It considers the critical role of the media in advancing public understanding of social issues, and examines important advances in the community indicators movement and international social reporting. Eye-opening and compelling, the book is a provocative centerpiece for policy debates and national initiatives on today's crucial domestic concerns.
Part I. Social Reporting in American Life
Part II. A Closer Look: Key Indicators of Social Health
Comment(s): "Marque-Luisa Miringoff and Sandra Opdycke are among the nation's leading pioneers in their field: social indicators. They knew many years ago what the rest of us are now waking up to. GDP does not tell us enough about how we are doing as a nation. We need a smarter, more comprehensive and more honest approach to the nation's social health. This book summarizes the achievements of the social indicators movement to date. They are impressive. And the authors' own work leads the way. But far more has to be done. How is America doing? Not well, as you will see when you read this volume. But you would not learn that from the indicators the government, the media or Wall Street watch." -- Jeff Madrick, Editor, Challenge: The Magazine of Economic Affairs
Review(s): "A readable book for studies in social policy, political science, and social work. Recommended." -- Choice
"The authors have succeeded in their efforts, and we look forward to future editions of this fine book." -- Journal of Comparative Social Welfare