Times Staff and Wire Reports

U.S. Social Health in Decline, Study Says: The social health of the United States declined in the first year of the Clinton Administration, even as the economy improved, according to an index of government data on social problems. Researchers at Fordham University in New York say their index reveals a startling trend over the past 20 years: The nation's quality of life has come unhinged from its economic growth. Fordham's Institute for Innovation in Social Policy at Tarrytown, N.Y., has issued an Index of Social Health for the past nine years--using statistics that go back to 1970--that tracks how well American society is doing in 16 areas, including infant mortality, drug abuse, unemployment, access to affordable housing and the gap between rich and poor.

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