The family is an engine, a force for good. It powers our country and our economy. It’s a building block of who we are, a vision for what we can become, and the cornerstone of strong communities. Without it we are lost. Nourish it and we find prosperity.

National Rankings for Family Prosperity

A joint project by Sutherland Institute and the American Conservative Union Foundation, the Family Prosperity Index (FPI), measures more than 50 of the economic and social factors that show how families experience prosperity. A state that scores well on the FPI is one that is moving toward the goal of creating family prosperity.

A National Quick Look

2016 Overall National Scores and Ranking

1st Place2nd Place3rd Place4th Place
EconomicsNorth DakotaColoradoUtahTexas
Family Self-SufficiencyUtahWashingtonSouth DakotaNew Hampshire
Family StructureUtahIdahoVermontIowa
Family CultureVirginiaUtahNorth DakotaMinnesota
Family HealthUtahHawaiiNebraskaMinnesota


  • A larger economy means more jobs for families and more income to provide a home, a good education and healthcare for children
  • Decreasing the size of the private sector by one percentage point is associated with $3,300 less in household income
  • Research has found that if rates of married parenthood were the same today as they were in 1980, median income for families with children would be 44 percent greater

Family Culture

  • Strong families create communities with less violent crime, better educational outcomes and stronger community associations
  • Children from single-parent homes are twice as likely to be arrested and three times as likely to go to jail before age 30 compared to children from married families
  • Among those who received a bachelor’s degree, 36 percent came from intact married families, compared to 8 percent from single-parent families

Family Self-Sufficiency

  • Families become less self-sufficient under higher taxes, welfare dependency, and when a family member goes to jail
  • A Pew study found that criminal history reduces an individual’s wages by 11 percent, yearly earnings by 40 percent and annual employment by nine weeks
  • A working-age head of household on welfare in America can lose as much as 50 percent of new income from a higher-paying job to reduced welfare benefits

Family Structure

  • Marriage protects children from poverty and motivates employees to work harder, longer and smarter to support and improve the economic situation of their family
  • Research shows that boys and girls raised in intact families earn $6,500 and $4,700 more per year, respectively, than boys and girls raised in single-parent families
  • The poverty rate for married couples in 2014 was 8.2 percent, compared to 35.9 percent for single-parent families

Family Health

  • Economic prosperity relies partly on the physical health of individuals and family members
  • A study from the U.S. Department of Justice found that the use of illegal drugs costs America’s economy $193 billion
    due to crime, ill health and reduced productivity
  • Research has found that abortion costs the economy between $70 billion and $135 billion every year, and reduces tax revenue by $10 billion to $33 billion


  • A growing population means more entrepreneurs, customers, a stronger labor market and a larger tax base for safety-net programs
  • A RAND study found that America’s aging population will slow annual economic growth by 1.2 percentage points over the next 10 years
  • The proportion of the American population over age 65 grew 20 percent between 2000 and 2015

Utah Quick Facts

2016 Overall National Scores and Ranking

Utah Prosperity AverageUtah’s National RankingTop 4 Ranked
Economics6.923#1 North Dakota, #2 Colorado, #4 Texas
Demographics9.121#2 Texas, #3 Alaska, #4 Idaho
Family Self-Sufficiency7.261#2 Washington, #3 South Dakota,
#4 New Hampshire
Family Structure7.461#2 Idaho, #3 Vermont, #4 Iowa
Family Culture6.392#1 Virginia, #3 North Dakota, #4 Minnesota
Family Health6.31#2 Hawaii, #3 Nebraska, #4 Minnesota


  • Although Utah ranked #3, the economic score was 38 percent above the national average
  • Utah ranked #3 in unemployment and #7 in entrepreneurship
  • Since 2012, Utah rose in economics from being #10 to being #2 in 2016. This year Utah ranks #3

Family Culture

  • Although Utah ranked #2, the Family Culture index score is 28 percent above the national average and only 1 percent below first-ranked Virginia
  • Utah is tied with Colorado as #1 as having the lowest births to unwed mothers in the nation
  • Utah is ranked #3 for religious attendance, with Alabama coming in #1 and Mississippi coming in #2

Family Self-Sufficiency

  • Utah is ranked #1 for family self-sufficiency, 45 percent above the national average and 17 percent over second-ranked Washington
  • Utah is ranked #1 for least Medicaid spending – $746/person, a difference of 308 percent to that of lowest ranking New York – $3,044/person
  • Utah is ranked #1 for highest charity giving
  • Utah is ranked #3 for least amount of prisoners

Family Structure

  • Utah’s Family Structure index score ranks #1, 49 percent above the national average and 10 percent over second-ranked Idaho
  • Utah is ranked #1 for children in married couple households, and #1 in state of households (percent of married households and average household size)
  • In 2014, Utah had the highest percent of married taxpayers in the nation. This declined nationally by 7 percent from 2000 to 2014

Family Health

  • Regarding the low proportion of tobacco and alcohol use, obesity, illicit drug use, and sexually transmitted diseases – Utah ranks in the top 10

  • Not only is Utah’s suicide rate ranked 44th nationally, it is also growing at a faster rate, increasing 43 percent between 2000 and 2014 (the national average increased 29 percent)

  • Utah is ranked #1 for the lowest risky behavior score and #2 for high infant survival


  • Utah’s demographic index score consistently rose over the past five years and always ranked #1
  • Utah is ranked #1 in population under 18, population over 65, and net natural population growth
  • Utah’s demographic index score is ranked #1, 82 percent above the national average
  • Utah has the lowest death rate in the nation

What’s Been Said In Utah

“Of all the awards and accolades Utah has received, this may very well be the most significant. While Utah has long recognized family as a critical social engine, this report illustrates the power of the family as an economic engine. Lawmakers would be wise to recognize that just as a strong economy helps families, strong families strengthen economies.” 

Boyd MathesonFormer President, Sutherland Institute

“The Family Prosperity Index measures whether Utah’s economic prosperity is reaching families, and makes clear that Utah’s families drive economic prosperity. Utah has room to improve when it comes to the related issues of drug use and suicide, but the Index shows that we are economically prosperous in Utah because we lead the nation in how we create, build and devote ourselves to our families and our communities.”

Derek MonsonDirector of Public Policy, Sutherland Institute

“The Family Prosperity Index provides a blueprint for creating an environment for families to flourish, and Utah, with its No. 1 rank on the 2016 FPI, has set the standard for the rest of the country. I hope leaders across the county will come to understand the factors driving Utah’s success and use the FPI as a tool to expand prosperity in their own states.”

Matt SchlappChairman, American Conservative Union Foundation

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