The “Family Miracle” Behind Utah’s Prosperity

A recent ranking of states by economic performance puts Utah at number one, confirming what some social scientists have called the state’s “economic miracle.” Likewise, multiple studies have also concluded that it is the happiest state. Brad Wilcox, Patrick T. Brown, and Jenet Erickson suggest that its success may stem from social factors:

The strength of “the Utah way” can be attributed, in part, to the state’s unique civic, religious, and political endowments, including unusually high levels of social capital and low levels of government regulation. But Utah’s material and emotional success is also attributable to the strength and stability of its families.

No state in the union has as many men, women, and children in married households as the beehive state. In 2021, 55 percent of adults in Utah (ages 18-55) were married and 82 percent of its children were living in married-couple families. This compares to a national average of 45 percent of adults married and 75 percent of kids living in married families. What could be called the “Utah family miracle” matters because social science tells us that one of the strongest predictors of a state’s economic success is strong families.

Recent research . . . indicates that one of the top predictors of economic performance across the states is the share of married parents. . . . Poor children in the Salt Lake area, for instance, are much more likely to be raised in a two-parent family and to be surrounded by peers from two-parent families than poor kids in other metro areas.

Read more at Deseret News

More about: American family, American Religion, American society, Economics


Hamas Wants a Renewed Ceasefire, but Doesn’t Understand Israel’s Changed Attitude

Yohanan Tzoreff, writing yesterday, believes that Hamas still wishes to return to the truce that it ended Friday morning with renewed rocket attacks on Israel, but hopes it can do so on better terms—raising the price, so to speak, of each hostage released. Examining recent statements from the terrorist group’s leaders, he tries to make sense of what it is thinking:

These [Hamas] senior officials do not reflect any awareness of the changed attitude in Israel toward Hamas following the October 7 massacre carried out by the organization in the western Negev communities. They continue to estimate that as before, Israel will be willing to pay high prices for its people and that time is working in their favor. In their opinion, Israel’s interest in the release of its people, the pressure of the hostages’ families, and the public’s broad support for these families will ultimately be decisive in favor of a deal that will meet the new conditions set by Hamas.

In other words, the culture of summud (steadfastness), still guides Hamas. Its [rhetoric] does not show at all that it has internalized or recognized the change in the attitude of the Israeli public toward it—which makes it clear that Israel still has a lot of work to do.

Read more at Institute for National Security Studies

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli Security