When it comes to economic development, there is little doubt that the United States is still the leader in the world. The past few years however have also witnessed rapid changes within other countries and their economies. Many people compare the performance of the US with that of European nations – are we better off economically? The following discussion compares both Europe and the United States.
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One way to measure the economic performance of the two systems is by developing a United States Regions Worksheet. This is a tool used by researchers and educators to evaluate and compare the performance of the US and other countries. It is important however, remember that this does not include all areas of economic development. Economic areas studied within this document include: regional growth, and productivity; national income; budget deficits and debt loads; labor productivity and job quality; educational opportunities; health and nutrition; product markets; technology and trade; government; environmental; foreign direct investment and industry.
An economic analysis of the United States can be broken down into three categories. The first category is the federal economic development; states will fall under this second category. Federal economic development is an umbrella term for a number of programs. It is important though, to remember that each program impacts the states differently. Some examples include: Pell Grants, student loans, TANF, SSI, energy grants, Medicaid, Housing subsidies, industrial aid, and other programs.
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Economic regions are also important when comparing the economic performance of the US and other countries. A US region refers to the 50 states of the union. It also includes the District of Columbia and the territories defined by Congress.
The third category is the overall economic performance of the state or region. It is important to note that the economies of the individual states vary greatly. An overall national outlook is usually represented by a states-level-of-economic development ranking. For example, a state such as Alaska has a very high number one ranking but relatively low numbers in any of the other regions of the United States.
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All three of these categories are represented in the United States Regions Worksheet. This gives us the ability to see at a glance the differences between regions. It also shows the differences in economic performance between states. By examining the state’s overall health in the context of the regions, we can see the differences in quality of life.
When looking at the United States, it is important to remember that no two states are alike. Each state’s overall economic performance should be examined carefully. There may be some improvements from state to state. There is also room to improve in some areas.
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When doing this analysis, don’t just look at general comparisons. Try to get more specific. For example, does the strength of the South differ from the North? Does the efficiency of the Midwest vary more than other states? The better we understand the relationships between states the easier we will be able to use them to our advantage economically.
Let’s take a look at another example. The states that surround the Great Lakes are extremely diverse. Their differences are very pronounced. Some areas have much higher property taxes than others. They also have varying levels of personal income tax. It is not terribly surprising that their regional economic performance is also quite varied.
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Obviously none of these factors can be changed just by moving to one of the states surrounding the Great Lakes. But by examining the variables that are associated with the region you can begin to learn which states are best for improving your economic situation. Some areas have better educational opportunities. Others are more conducive to having business thrive.
As you examine the differences between regions on the United States Regions Worksheet, you’ll find that there are some ways that you can improve your personal or business situation in a particular region. One thing that you may do well in a certain region is to invest in a business that is well established and has a good chance of being successful. Another idea is to relocate to a smaller region where a business has already developed. That can help you obtain access to a wider range of customers.
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In some cases it makes sense to expand what you currently have going on. When you study the United States Regions Worksheet you will see that there are several classifications of things that could affect an individual’s economic status. You should make a list of the things that are important to you and your family. Then you can begin to do research about the different regions and figure out which ones would be best for you. You can also examine the regional newspaper to see what the latest economic reports are. By doing this research, you can get a feel for how the region is doing economically.
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