So what happens when we apply the Human Development Index to the United States?
The Human Development Index is a metric that measures the life expectancy, education, and standard of living in an area. It's usually used to sort the world into "developing countries," like Bangladesh and Burundi, and "developed countries" like the United States and Western Europe.
But this interactive infographic actually uses the Human Development Index to show differences between the states here in America. The highest on the list are Connecticut, Massachusetts, and other states in the northeast. The lowest are the Appalachian states.
Should we start thinking of West Virginia and Tennessee as "developing states"? It's a little patronizing, but it does make you think about the costs of America's regionalized coal production, for example, in a new way.