Utne Blogs > Politics

The Misery Index and Other Quantifiable Reasons to Despair

by Jake Mohan 


Tags: politics, statistics, unemployment, inflation, economy, quality of life, American Dream, Eyeteeth,

crybabyAs if abject data roundups like the Harper’s Index weren’t dour enough, there are even more depressing numbers being crunched. Gathering figures from the UK Independent, Bloomberg, and other sources, Eyeteeth compiles various statistics to show the country’s hellbound, handbasket-borne trajectory. 

For example: The Misery Index—by far the most poetically named of the numbers on offer—is calculated by adding unemployment to inflation. It’s at 10.5, its highest in 15 years. There’s a 30-year gap in the average life expectancy between residents of Connecticut and Mississippi (people in the former state live longer). And a new Time/Rockefeller poll shows that 52 percent of Americans believe the “American Dream” is no longer attainable.

The figures are worth a glance, but it’s also illuminating to click through and read the articles from which they’re derived, which examine some of the reasons behind our crumbling quality of life, place them in historical context, and offer suggestions for how we might reverse these negative trends.

Image by ang (3 Girls & a Boy), licensed by Creative Commons.