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(The Center Square) – Georgia is the 37th most prosperous state in the country, according to the 2021 United States Prosperity Index.

The index created by London-based think-tank Legatum Institute is a comprehensive assessment of all aspects of prosperity, including safety and security, business environment, health and living conditions. It was developed with the help of about 40 U.S. academic and policy experts.

The United States is one of the most prosperous countries in the world, ranking 18th out of 167 nations, according to the index. However, prosperity is distributed unevenly across the country, with Southeastern states being the least prosperous.

Georgia was ranked in the top 20th in three index categories. The state placed 12th nationally for its business environment – the amount and variety of investment finance available and how easy it is for businesses to start, compete and expand.

Legatum Institute also ranked Georgia 14th for its infrastructure and 16th for economic quality. 

Experts looked at how well Georgia’s economy is equipped to generate wealth sustainably, with the full engagement of its workforce, to measure economic quality. They evaluated the quality of the infrastructure that facilitates trade. Businesses need infrastructure that allows them to communicate and connect them to resources like water and electricity, transport hubs and economic centers, experts said.

“This leads to more competitive and efficient markets, allowing new products and ideas to be commercialized and transported within the U.S. and overseas, ultimately benefiting consumers through a greater variety of goods at more competitive prices,” Legatum Institute said.

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Georgia’s lowest rankings were in governance and social capital.

The state was ranked 47th among other states and the District of Columbia for governance, measured by the extent to which there are checks and restraints on power and whether the government operates effectively and without corruption. It was ranked 43rd for its social capital, for which experts looked at the strength of personal and social relationships, institutional trust, social networks and civic participation. 

U.S. prosperity had been rising for more than a decade, but it weakened between 2020 and 2021 because of the pandemic, Legatum Institute said. Before the pandemic, U.S. prosperity had been increasing year-over-year for more than 10 years.

“The direct and indirect impacts of the pandemic have resulted in many aspects of prosperity deteriorating over the past year. As the pandemic took hold, all but a handful of states introduced restrictions that curtailed other aspects of prosperity,” the report states. “Social wellbeing, the economy, and institutional strength have all been impacted by the pandemic and how states have responded to it.”

However, Legatum Institute said a record-breaking number of new business applications “signals hope for the recovery.”

By Nyamekye Daniel | The Center Square

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