A composite measure of economic well-being. The GPI includes economic contributions of the family and the community and of the natural habitat and conventionally measured economic production. It considers more than 20 social and environmental factors and differentiates between economic transactions that add to well-being and those that diminish it, integrating these so the benefits of economic activity can be weighed against costs. Per capita gross domestic product (GDP) in the United States more than doubled from 1950 to 1999, but while the per capita GPI increased in 1950–1969, it declined by 45% in 1970–1999. The GPI reveals that much which economists consider economic growth measured by GDP is really fixing problems caused by earlier errors and social decay from the past, borrowing resources from the future, or shifting functions from the community and household realm to the monetized economy. The GPI suggests that the costs of the economic trajectory of the United States and similar nations have begun to outweigh the benefits. The GPI adjusts for factors such as income distribution, adds the value of household and volunteer work, and subtracts the costs of crime and pollution. Because the GDP and the GPI are both measured in monetary terms, they can be compared. GPI provides a more valid economic indicator than does gross national product (GNP) for studies of population health. For further details, see http://www.redefiningprogress.org/projects/gpi/.
Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology.