Chicago Board of Trade building.
(The Center Square) – Illinois ranked in the top half of all states in terms of prosperity, according to a new analysis.
The 2020 United States Prosperity Index is an assessment prosperity and ranked Illinois 21st in the country, up two spots from 2019.
The index measures performance across 11 pillars of prosperity using more than 200 indicators grouped into 48 policy-focused elements, according to the Legatum Institute. They were designed to be tools to guide and direct state and county policymakers.
Shaun Flanagan, the director of the Centre for Metrics at the Legatum Institute, said the index shows that before the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. prosperity had been rising for a decade.
“There is a lag obviously in terms of when that data is released, so what you can’t really get from the index is the impact of the pandemic so far,” he said.
The report noted that prosperity was not universally shared across the country. Northern states generally outperform those in the south and further disparities exist within states at a county level.
The report also found that living conditions, health, education and the natural environment had all improved across the U.S. over the last 10 years. However, education declined in the past year with students not performing as well at both the grade 4 and grade 8 levels. School closures as a result of the pandemic could put the progress made on educational outcomes at risk in some states.
Illinois scored well in the categories of personal freedom, business environment, market access and infrastructure, but Flanagan said one category was a red flag.
“One of the elements within economic quality is fiscal sustainability, and that for me was a bit of an alarm bell for Illinois,” he said.
Illinois ranked 48th in the country in the economic quality category.
Massachusetts, Connecticut and Minnesota ranked first, second and third – respectively – as the most prosperous states. Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana were the least prosperous, according to the index.