SR-culture-index-2014-Scorecard_Poverty-and-Dependence.The Heritage Foundation has released their 2014 Index of Culture and Opportunity, the first annual report that tells how social and economic factors relate to the success of individuals, families, opportunity, and freedom. Through charts that track changes, and commentary that explains the trends, the Index shows the current state of some key features of American society and tells whether specific indicators are improving or getting off track.

Here are a few highlights from the report:

On Culture

From 2001 to 2011, the marriage rate dropped by 10.3 marriages per 1,000 unmarried women, or 22.8 percent. Since the 1960s, it has fallen by about 50 percent. “[T]he nation’s retreat from marriage,” writes W. Bradford Wilcox, “means that only about half of the nation’s adults are currently married, and that about half of the nation’s children will spend some time outside an intact, married home”.

On Poverty and Dependence

From 2002 to 2012, self-sufficiency—the ability of a family to sustain an income above the poverty threshold without welfare assistance—declined as the percentage of individuals living in poverty increased by 2.9 percentage points.

On Opportunity

The percentage of 17-year-olds proficient in reading has remained flat despite massive spending increases for public education.

Download the report here.