The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is the connection between strong families and economic prosperity. I have written numerous times about the importance of families in society, and I have called families the core unit of civilization. I found a report that shows the truth of my statements in figures and charts.
The Sutherland Institute posted its Family Prosperity Index for 2016 showing the connection between the family and the economy. The article reports a combined effort by Sutherland Institute and the American Conservative Union Foundation.
The family is an engine, a force for good. It powers our country and our economy. It’s a building block of who we are, a vision for what we can become, and the cornerstone of strong communities. Without it we are lost. Nourish it and we find prosperity.
This project is called the Family Prosperity Index (FPI). It ranks the fifty states in how well they are “moving toward the goal of creating family prosperity” in the following six areas: economics, family culture, family self-sufficiency, family structure, family health, and demographics.
The initiative “measures more than 50 of the economic and social factors that show how families experience prosperity. A state that scores well on the FPI is one that is moving toward the goal of creating family prosperity.” The state with the highest rank is Utah (7.24), and the lowest ranking state is West Virginia (3.50).
The 2015 Family Prosperity Index here has Utah with the highest rank and New Mexico with the lowest (3.94) - but West Virginia is listed next with a score of 4.03. It shows Alaska in the middle with a ranking of 4.89, just above Illinois at 4.87. It also has the following explanation for what the index does.
The Family Prosperity Index (FPI) provides federal, state, and local policymakers – as well as civic leaders and community-minded citizens – the roadmap needed for the development of economic and social policies that improve the wellbeing and prosperity of American families and the communities in which they live. No other measure provides more credible and comprehensive insights into how the economy affects families, and how families affect the economy.
Strong families help the economy and good economies strengthen families. Wise politicians will recognize the importance of supporting families by strengthening the economy. Boyd Matheson, President of Sutherland Institute says the following.
Of all the awards and accolades Utah has received, this may very well be the most significant. While Utah has long recognized family as a critical social engine, this report illustrates the power of the family as an economic engine. Lawmakers would be wise to recognize that just as a strong economy helps families, strong families strengthen economies.
The Sutherland Institute is not the only ones calling for stronger families. Linda and Richard Eyre have written a book with the claim that “strong families equal strong economy and strong society. Their book is titled The Turning: Why the State of the Family Matters, and What the World Can do About It.” The Eyres make the following three points in their book: (1) Households or family groups are the basic unit of society, not individuals. (2) Families have declined more in the last 50 years than in the previous 6,000 years. (3) The increase in social problems directly corresponds with (and is caused by) the decline in functional families. According to the Eyres, strong families will bless this country and society.
Of course, it is one thing to talk about societal problems and declining families, and another thing all together to do something about it. When we are speaking, we like to tell our audiences that “the best thing you can do for this country, and for society at large, is to form a strong family and raise responsible kids.”
We can follow the counsel of the experts on families and help our nation and society to prosper, or we can ignore them and face the opposite consequence. I intend to do everything that I can do to strengthen my family and other families. I hope that you will join the effort too.