ERIC Number: ED158927
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978
Use of Composite Indexes to Assess Social Well-Being in U.S. Counties.
Ross, Peggy J.; Hines, Fred K.
A reliable system of social indicators reported as composite numerical indexes has utility for both research and policy purposes. Composite indicators can summarize the broad and abstract conditions of well-being which cannot be readily described with a single indicator or series of single indicators. They provide simple, readily interpretable pictures of variations in well-being across the nation. Based on selected 1970 Census and Vital Statistics data, four composite indexes to describe social well-being were developed; socioeconomic status, health status, family status, and social pathology formed the constructs underlying the indexes. Utility of the indicators was demonstrated with an analysis of metro-nonmetro and regional differences in social well-being in 3,097 counties across the nation. Large metro-nonmetro differences were shown for socioeconomic status and health status, but little difference in family status and social pathology was observed. Regionally, socioeconomic status, health status, and family status were highest in the North and West and lowest in the South. Social pathology was highest in the West and lowest in South and North Central counties. Methodology described includes data selection, principal components analysis, derivation of factor scores, and conversion of the index to a common scale. (DS)
Descriptors: Comparative Analysis, Demography, Differences, Family Status, Metropolitan Areas, Pathology, Physical Health, Quality of Life, Regional Characteristics, Research Methodology, Rural Areas, Rural Urban Differences, Social Indicators, Social Influences, Socioeconomic Status, Statistical Analysis
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A