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Friday, January 15, 2010

Handing Out Report Cards

Over the next many weeks at, we're handing out report cards. With a full year of data from 2009 now in house and ripe for analyzing, we will be reporting about the state of the nation -- and the people in it -- based on the best behavioral economic metrics available.

We gave you a taste this week with our report on Americans' well-being in 2009 compared to 2008. If you think Americans were down-trodden to new lows by the economic stress around them, think again. They did suffer in five of six key areas of well-being, but an improved outlook -- in terms of how they rate their lives today and in the future -- buoyed their collective well-being enough to match its 2008 level.

We're also out with a report card on Americans' exercise habits. Americans did fall behind here, reporting less daily exercise in 2009 compared to 2008 and in 10 of 12 months of the year. Since we know even one day of exercise relates to several health benefits, Americans will be well-served to improve those numbers in 2010. Next week, we'll follow up this report with a similar look at Americans' eating habits in 2009 versus 2008.

Don't think we forgot about politics. Monday morning, we're reporting on President Obama's approval rating for his first full year in office. We also have a report card for U.S. leadership from the citizens of 83 countries in our World Citizens' Views of U.S. leadership Pre- and Post-Obama feature.

But the report cards we're arguably the most excited about are those that break down our findings -- across politics, business, and well-being -- by state. As we did with our midyear 2009 data and our full-year 2008 data, we will report how many of our key metrics break down at the state level. This year, we're adding a few more bells and whistles to our reporting, which will give you the opportunity to sort different measures by state rank and also to get individual state snapshots across metrics. Our state-level data will again include Obama job approval, political party identification, economic confidence, job creation, consumer spending, and all of our key well-being indexes.

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Finally, if you have a question or want a report card on something else we measure, feel free to e-mail us at or post a comment here.


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