Prosperity across the United States

The United States Prosperity programme is focused on developing a comprehensive picture of prosperity for all 50 states of the Union as well as Washington D.C., and across hundreds of counties in a number of selected states.


The United States’ overall economy is world leading. It is open, with well-developed infrastructure, competitive markets, and plentiful access to finance. In the main, its institutions are robust, its education system is one of the best in the world, and the majority of citizens feel connected to each other and engaged in society. However, the U.S. under-performs in areas such as safety and security, health, and living conditions, and consequently it has not risen in our global Prosperity Index rankings over the last 10 years.

To understand why the United States’ undeniable long-term economic success is not translating fully into social wellbeing, through the generous support of The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, the inaugural United States Prosperity Index was launched in 2019. The Index measured the institutional, economic, and social dimensions for all 50 states. In 2020, with additional support from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Walton Family Foundation, the state level Index was updated and a brand-new, in-depth analysis of prosperity across hundreds of counties was launched. The county-level Index currently covers 1,196 counties in twelve selected states (California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New York, Oklahoma, and Texas).

In 2022, the Legatum Institute formed a new strategic partnership with the Milken Center for Advancing the American Dream (MCAAD), to develop and utilize a pioneering American Dream Prosperity Index. The new Index will highlight the importance of the core components of prosperity, including strengthening communities, and promoting freedom so that people can pursue new ideas and dreams including through entrepreneurship. In doing so, it will showcase the key values that are proven to build prosperity, including integrity, fairness, and compassion, that help drive human progress and bring all Americans one step closer to realizing their extraordinary potential and achieving their Dream.

Find out more at:

Programme lead

Shaun Flanagan

Director of Impact and Partnerships

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