The first-ever US Cities SDG Index ranks the 100 most populous metropolitan areas in the US based on their performance on the SDGs.
The Index aims to provide a framework for action to help address sustainable development challenges faced by cities.
10 August 2017: US cities still have a long way to go towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), according to the first-ever US Cities SDG Index, which ranks the 100 most populous metropolitan areas in the US based on their performance on the SDGs. Because 62.7% of the US population live in urban areas, the Index aims to provide a framework for action to help address sustainable development challenges faced by cities.
The Index, titled ‘US Cities SDG Index 2017: Achieving a Sustainable Urban America,’ illustrates how US cities and regions are performing on specific goals, with results presented in regional dashboards to facilitate comparisons among cities. The Index aims to stimulate local level action and act as a tool for benchmarking progress on sustainable development. The Index further aims to help city administrators and planners analyze progress and prioritize policy and investment areas, and serve as an advocacy tool to motivate the federal government to track sustainable development in cities.
The San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara metro region in California topped the list and ranks in the top ten cities on 10 of the 16 SDGS monitored by the Index. Provo-Orem in Utah placed second, followed by Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue in Washington, and San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward in California.
The Index identifies challenges related to child poverty in urban areas and the proliferation of malnutrition and obesity in the US.
The worst performing regions were: Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Cleveland-Elyria, Ohio; and Detroit, Michigan. The 100 cities assessed had a poverty rate of 15.6%, while the percentage of children living in poverty in large urban areas was sometimes as high as 70%. The Index identifies a “clear North-South gradient” on poverty, with higher rates of poverty in Southern metropolitan areas. The Index further underscores the proliferation of malnutrition and obesity in the US: even the best performing urban areas have adult obesity rates of 30%.
The Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) published the Index, which uses 49 indicators from 16 of the 17 SDGs. SDG 14 (life below water) is not assessed. According to SDSN, few sustainable development indicators are consistently collected across cities, and some indicators are not monitored at the local level. To address these data challenges, the Index recommends investments in local level statistical systems and a strong federal commitment to collate and share data. [SDSN News Story] [US Cities SDG Index Landing Page] [Publication: US Cities SDG Index 2017]