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'American Dream' at Risk as the US Takes to the Polls, According to Legatum Prosperity Index™

LONDON, November 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

  • US drops out of global prosperity 'top ten' ranking for the first time.
  • US falls eight places in Entrepreneurship & Opportunity sub-index, as fewer citizens agree that working hard is the key to success.
  • Asia's emerging economies overtake US in Economy sub-index.

As the race for the White House reaches fever pitch, the latest findings from the Legatum Prosperity Index™ expose a country in decline. In an unprecedented fall, America drops to 12th position in the worldwide prosperity rankings - with weakening performance across five of the Index's eight sub-categories.

The US drop in the Economy and Entrepreneurship & Opportunity categories is particularly sharp. The US no longer appears in half of the sub-indices 'top ten' rankings and is set to be overtaken by the UK in the overall Index by 2014.

Falling confidence in elections and a declining Government approval rate has also triggered a drop in the Governance sub-index.

Jeffrey Gedmin, President and CEO of the Legatum Institute, which compiles the research said: "The Legatum Prosperity Index™ allows us to paint a comprehensive picture of what makes a country truly successful, encompassing traditional measures of material wealth, as well as capturing citizens' sense of wellbeing GDP alone can never offer a complete view of prosperity, which is why, in the final countdown to Election Day, the US's fall in the Index has come at a pivotal time."

The Legatum Prosperity Index™ is a unique and robust assessment of global wealth and wellbeing, which benchmarks 142 countries around the world in eight distinct categories: Economy; Education; Entrepreneurship & Opportunity; Governance; Health; Personal Freedom; Safety & Security; and Social Capital.

To see the full overall rankings, sub-index scores and to compare countries and years, please visit: http://www.prosperity.com

The Future of the 'American Dream'

According to the Index, the national ethos of the US is under threat, as fewer citizens perceive that working hard gets you ahead (85% down from 89% last year). Plus, as business start-up costs rise (to 1.4% of GNI up from 0.7% two years ago) and Information Communication and Technology export levels drop (to 2.4% of exports from 2.6% last year), America has fallen eight places in the Entrepreneurship & Opportunity sub-index.

The US Economy sub-index score has also declined - falling consistently since 2009. The US now lies in 20th position, far behind Asia's leading economies and in the shadow of Eurozone powerhouse Germany (sixth).

Mr Gedmin said: "As the US struggles to reclaim the building blocks of the American Dream, now is the time to consider who is best placed to lead the country back to prosperity and compete with the more agile countries that have pushed the US out of the top ten."

A healthy outlook?

Extremely high health expenditure has secured second place for the US in the Health category, however this top sub-index position masks an ailing picture of health outcomes in the US.

Not only is the infant mortality rate in the US close to double the European average (six and a half per cent compared to three per cent), but the US now ranks 33rd overall for life expectancy. Alongside this, almost a quarter (24%) of US citizens stated that health problems prevented them from doing things people of their age would normally do, five per cent higher than in the UK (19%).

The Education sub-index was the only category in which the US has advanced. Now fifth in the Education sub-index rankings, the US has climbed eight places since 2011, above the UK and Germany (30th and 15th respectively) but falling behind neighbours Canada (third).

Notes to Editors

About the Legatum Prosperity Index

The Legatum Prosperity Index™ is a unique global assessment of national prosperity based on wealth and wellbeing. In its 6th year, the Index assesses 142 countries, representing more than 96% of the world's population and 99% of the world's GDP.

Media enquiries

For more information or to arrange an interview with Jeffrey Gedmin, contact:

Julian Knapp

+44(0)20-7148-5420 / [email protected]

Emily Fingland

+44(0)1273-716820 / [email protected]


Further information available by request

SOURCE Legatum Institute

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