New digital tools demonstrate the promise of measuring well-being in the United States

This summer, the Washington Center for Equitable Growth partnered with New America, the Justice, Health & Democracy Impact Initiative at Harvard University, and the U.S. Departments of Commerce and the Treasury to lead a sprint with The Opportunity Project, a U.S. Census Bureau program that leverages open data to solve challenges facing the nation. Through a 14-week technology development sprint, nongovernmental solutions teams worked with federal data stewards to build digital tools that measure household and community well-being in new and more accurate ways.

The Wellbeing of Nations

What we measure matters — key indicators guide our funding, governance, and policymaking decisions. The measures we choose to develop and rely on can also fail to drive the outcomes we seek, and governments are waking up to the reality that measuring economic growth alone does not meaningfully capture the well-being of individuals and families. While several holistic frameworks for measuring well-being exist, the United States has yet to adopt a national framework that goes beyond conventional economic indicators like GDP and employment.