Are you living the American Dream? More importantly, do the people in your community think they are? The answer to that question could have an impact on how competitive your community is in attracting new investment.
An interesting new comparative index attempts to quantify which states have created more of the favorable conditions that allow their residents to live the American Dream. And for companies concerned about talent recruitment, retention and productivity, the index offers some insights to gauge what employees and prospective employees think about where they live.
The American Dream State Ranking Report is the work of place-branding consultant Burghard Group in collaboration with Xavier University in Cincinnati. Xavier’s monthly American Dream Composite Index measures the extent to which people living in the United States are achieving the American Dream.
And, no, the index does not define what the American Dream is. It is, instead, built on survey responses to 139 statements that encapsulate various American “aspirations” ranging from economic conditions to overall well being to assimilation and diversity, trust in people and institutions and the quality of air, water and food.
Here’s what the index says are the top 10 states for living the American Dream:
2) New Mexico
4) Washington DC
So, what does the perception of the American Dream have to do with Corporate America? The Burghard Group, collaborating with Xavier, created the state rankings and conducted a market research study to determine the significance of American Dream factors to executives in gauging employee attitude and making business decisions.
The survey results offer further evidence that quality of place can play a major role in site location decisions. Nearly two-thirds of business execs said they would be likely to highly likely to consider index scores as a factor in determining finalist communities for a project. A third said they would be reluctant to relocate to a place with a lower ranking that where they were, even with incentives factored into the equation.
For states that don’t routinely crack the top states for business lists in their various incarnations, a high ranking on an index like this could be a notable differentiator. Only three states in the top 10 of the index – Virginia, Utah and Texas - were regulars in the top 10 best states for business lists in 2012 of CEO magazine, Forbes and CNBC.
Talent is drawn to inviting places to live and if people feel content in a place, they tend to stay their longer, both highly desirable attributes for attracting investment. Technology advances have conquered many of the distance divides that once weighed against locales outside major population centers, places like Montana.
The overlap in livability features to American Dream ideals can be of major importance to places that emphasize “work where you want to live” advantages. And in terms of a measure of contentment, it can be an indicator of both attraction of talent and retention of it.
Sure, any community competing for investment and jobs – and most all of them are – needs to make a strong case in dollars and sense for factors such as overall costs, regulatory environment, incentives, infrastructure and labor force. But with all factors being equal, an emotional connection can make all the difference. And certainly people who strongly feel they are living the American Dream have made that connection.
How does your community stack up for American Dream attributes and do you view them as differentiators for your community? How could they fit into your recruitment strategy to attract new investment? Share your thoughts.
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