Senior Honors Projects, 2010-current

Preferred Name - First Author

Wheeler, Lauren

Date of Award

Spring 2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Department

Department of Integrated Science and Technology

Advisor(s)

Dr. Henry Way

Dr. Eric Pappas

Dr. Helmut Kraenzle

Abstract

Many world organizations rank countries according to varying development criteria, but rarely are those scales transposed onto smaller geographic regions of a single countryin order to more fully understand that country’s development. This global analysis does not take into account regions that are statistical outliers within a country. The United States ranked 8th in 2015 according to the United Nations’ Human Development Index, but empirical evidence shows, through qualitative and quantitative data, that there are regions within the U.S. that would not classify as having “very high human development.” This study used multivariate quantitative data (health statistics, education levels, and income) to replicate development indices like that of United Nations (UN) for counties in the United States. Development thresholds were based on standards of highly reputable and widely recognized organizations such as the UN, World Bank, and CIA World Fact Book. The data werethen graphically displayed as maps using ESRI’s ArcGIS software to show the spatial distribution of development across the United States if counties were held to the same standards of international development like those of United Nations or World Bank. The results showed that low development was prevalent in areas with entrenched poverty like the Mississippi River Delta and the Appalachian Region. In total, there are 66 counties that fall into fourth class, or the “low development” category, for all three development criteria. Having applied international development indices to U.S. counties, it is the author’s hope that issues of poverty, development, and human well-being will be approached from a greater global perspective and more domestic aid will be given.

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