What is â€œThe Good Lifeâ€? We Nebraskans love to talk about it, but I donâ€™t often hear people define it. Think about it for a minute â€“ what does â€œThe Good Lifeâ€ mean to you?
This term means different things to different people, but generally, it refers to a high quality of life that involves healthy people, safe communities, and opportunities to build a better future. It encompasses objective measures, like good water quality, and subjective measures, like the feeling of community brought about by neighborhood potlucks and t-ball games.
Because many of us have an emotional response to the idea of â€œThe Good Lifeâ€ itâ€™s easy to forget that quality of life can be measured an analyzed.
Why does it matter? Canâ€™t we just sit on the front porch with our Grandfathers drinking lemonade and talking about the â€œThe Good Lifeâ€?
I think such analysis matters because it helps us to build equality and opportunity for all Nebraskans by assessing where we are doing well for children, families, and communities, and where we have room to grow. From an economic perspective, it matters because many companies take into consideration quality of living scores in deciding where to locate. In other words, social indicators do play a role in our stateâ€™s economic development. I also think it is important to think about in order to make good choices about state investments.
One such assessment here in Nebraska is the annual â€œKidâ€™s Countâ€ report, put out annually by our friends at Voices for Children, which analyzes our progress on child well being.Â Another assessment is Mercerâ€™s Global Quality of Living survey, which is released annually, and compares 215 cities based on 39 criteria, including safety, education, and public transportation.
In working to fulfill the Appleseed mission, increasing opportunity for education, assuring that families have their basic needs like food and health care met, and protecting peopleâ€™s rights to build a better life for themselves, I like to think that weâ€™re working to improve our stateâ€™s score on â€œThe Good Life Index.â€
If you were putting together â€œThe Good Life Indexâ€ what would you measure? How do you think our state would score? And what measure would you address first to improve our ranking?