A long-term trend in America

The Economic Security Index shows that economic insecurity disproportionately affects the less advantaged, but has risen substantially for all Americans.

ESI in the News:


November 2013 Update: Economic Security Continues to Improve in 2012

For the first time, this website makes it possible to:

  • map state differences in economic insecurity 
  • examine how state patterns varied over a quarter century 
  • identify which states have the most and least insecurity 
  • data now updated through 2012

The Economic Security Index (ESI) is an integrated measure of insecurity that shows how common  large economic losses are within the U.S. population. Now, for the first time, it is possible to compare the ESI across the American states over the last generation. 

These state-level measures of the ESI show that every state experienced record insecurity in the last decade. Moreover, all states experienced a substantial rise in insecurity both during and before the recent downturn.

The differences across states in levels of economic security are both persistent and substantial. For example, the state with the lowest level of the ESI during 2008 - 2010, New Hampshire, peaked at a level of the ESI that the state with the highest, Mississippi, had already exceeded in 1986. 

Higher levels of the ESI are associated with some key demographic and economic characteristics of the states—for instance, the share of  state residents with a college degree and drops in state employment.