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Maryland GPI Grows More Than 2 Percent Last Year

GPI updated with 2011 data

Governor Martin O’Malley today announced that the State has updated Maryland’s Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) ,  the first state government sanctioned tool of its kind,  to include 2011 data.  According to the new data, Maryland’s GPI – a measure of statewide well-being – grew more than 2 percent since last year; the highest increase since 2005.

“The GPI is one of the best ways to evaluate our progress as a State because it provides a comprehensive look at our economy, natural resources and community,” said Governor O’Malley. “With these results we are able to see where we need to focus our efforts, and create the necessary policies.”

In addition to the rise of Maryland’s GPI, total consumer spending also increased by 1.58 percent. These trends suggest that Marylanders are experiencing greater overall well-being, with two major factors contributing to the upsurge. 

The first is the positive economic effect that more Marylander’s are working. The results of the GPI show the State’s effort to create more jobs has proven successful, decreasing the cost of underemployment in Maryland’s GPI by more than $200 million, or 3.6 percent compared to 2010. Secondly, Maryland’s income inequality gap shrunk by $4 billion, or 2.7 percent.  This is the first time the State has enjoyed a reduced equity gap since 2008.

“The GPI once again demonstrates the need to continue our current gauges and add a few, to more accurately depict overall conditions for all Marylanders,” said project leader Sean McGuire, of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Office for a Sustainable Future. “The significant decreases in underemployment and income inequality are very encouraging. Yet, we still need to appreciate and resolve the difference between mere monetary exchange and the comprehensive well-being of ourselves, our families and our communities.”

Governor O’Malley launched the Maryland Genuine Progress Indicator in February 2010. This innovative, online tool allows policymakers and citizens to more accurately measure the State’s standard of living by including indicators of social and environmental health along with traditional economic calculations. Developed by experts from several State agencies, the Governor’s Office and the University of Maryland, the GPI is designed to complement – but not replace – traditional economic measurements, such as the Gross State Product.

According to New Economics Institute, Maryland is the only state to have officially adopted the GPI, and Governor O’Malley is the first elected official to advocate for its use.  This year, following Maryland’s lead, the state of Vermont passed legislation mandating the calculation, updating and use of its own GPI.  Because of these and parallel efforts, Governor O’Malley will host a summit in Annapolis on October 9, 2012, to discuss the applications of the GPI and how other states can adopt similar measures of overall well-being.

For the 2011 update, the Maryland GPI Working Group once again conducted an intensive reevaluation of the data and methodology and recalibrated several of the Indicators, resulting in a change to previous years’ calculations. The Working Group will continue to study and evaluate this data so that the GPI continues to remain as accurate as possible.

The GPI joins a host of innovative, interactive tools ― such as GreenPrint, BayStat and the Maryland Green Registry ― that have been developed for Maryland citizens under Governor O’Malley’s Smart, Green & Growing Initiative. The GPI, along with a helpful video that explains the indicator, is available at the State’s Smart, Green & Growing website,