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AMERICA'S SOCIAL HEALTH:
PUTTING SOCIAL ISSUES BACK ON THE PUBLIC AGENDA

by Marque-Luisa Miringoff and Sandra Opdycke (M.E. Sharpe, Inc., 2007)

Building on the work of the Institute, America's Social Health argues that there needs to be greater visibility for social issues and a closer link between social reporting and public action to better address the nation's social problems. The book considers the critical role of the media in advancing public understanding of social issues, and examines important advances in the community indicators movement and international social reporting. It calls for renewed policy debates and national initiatives to address today's crucial domestic concerns.

Besides laying out this ambitious agenda, America's Social Health provides a detailed analysis of trends over time in sixteen key social indicators of American life, such as infant mortality, teenage suicide, health insurance coverage, and affordable housing. The authors maintain that social conditions, like economic conditions, must be constantly monitored in order for us to have a clear sense of "how we are doingÓ as a society."

Marque-Luisa Miringoff and Sandra Opdycke are among the nation's leading pioneers in their field: social indicators. They knew many years ago what the rest of us are now waking up to: GDP does not tell us enough about how we are doing as a nation. We need a smarter, more comprehensive and more honest approach to the nation's social health. This book summarizes the achievements of the social indicators movement to date. They are impressive. And the authors' own work leads the way. But far more has to be done. How is America doing? Not well, as you will see when you read this volume. But you would not learn that from the indicators the government, the media, or Wall Street watch.

—Jeff Madrick, Challenge: The Magazine of Economic Affairs

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