| WASHINGTON, June 24
WASHINGTON, June 24 Economic opportunity has
dropped in the United States over the past 40 years, but a
broader gauge of opportunity incorporating crime, education and
healthcare has been on the rise, according to a study released
The study released by advocacy group Opportunity Nation and
research group Measure of America showed that opportunity
increased 13 percent from 1970 to 2010, even as economic
opportunity decreased by 22 percent.
"I think that the important thing to recognize is that
opportunity is more than just the unemployment rate," said Mark
Edwards, executive director of Opportunity Nation, a bipartisan
group that seeks to expand economic mobility.
"Access to education is important, access to healthcare is
important. These are all pieces that are critical to
opportunity," he said.
The study measured data from a variety of government sources
to determine a measure of success in each state and Washington,
D.C., in terms of economics, education and community life. The
study took into account a range of factors from access to
healthcare to household income and violent crime.
It found that educational opportunity rose by 80 percent and
community opportunity increased by 20 percent, more than
offsetting the decline in terms of economics.
The slow recovery from the 2007-2009 recession weighed on
the measure of economic opportunity, as did a 30 percent
increase in income inequality and a 12 percent rise in poverty.
Based on the broad measure, however, almost every state has
seen opportunity increase over the past four decades, with the
biggest gain in Virginia. Only Nevada and Michigan registered
(Reporting by Moriah Costa; Editing by Leslie Adler and Lisa