Economy & Workforce
Per Capita Income
Average income received in the past 12 months computed for every man, woman, and child in a geographic area. Life satisfaction is strongly correlated with per capita income. This is particularly true among disadvantaged countries, regions, and communities, because income gains in these places are associated with greatest increases in life satisfaction.
Unemployed individuals are those without jobs who are able, available and actively seeking work. The unemployment rate is the number of unemployed people as a percentage of the total labor force. The unemployment rate is seen as a lagging indicator for the strength of the economy, both national and regional.
Children in Poverty
The number of children under 18 living below the federally defined poverty line, expressed as a percentage of all children under 18. Childhood poverty is strongly and negatively correlated with children’s mental, emotional, and behavioral health in childhood and long-term life chances.
People and Community
The activities of art-related businesses and cultural organizations foster cultural and creative vitality. A growing number of arts-related businesses also provide opportunities for individuals to learn and participate in a rich array of arts and culture activities. They are also essential to supplying arts and cultural organizations with products and services. Consequently, their number reflects, in part, the strength of the arts sector in a regional economy.
A cohesive society is one where people are protected against life risks, trust their neighbors and the institutions of the state and can work towards a better future for themselves and their families. Social cohesion, built on social inclusion, social capital and social mobility, is the glue that holds society together.
Price of Government
Sum of all taxes, fees, and charges collected by the City as a percentage of aggregate personal income. This indicator allows a local government to monitor the level of resources available to provide critical services within its jurisdiction and helps inform the price range within which residents and businesses are
willing to pay for living in a city/county with those services.
Number of ballots cast for population over age of 18 for November elections. Civic engagement and citizenship are core ideals of American society. Voting rates often reflect citizens’ feelings of self-efficacy. High rates of voting are typically connected to home ownership, higher levels of education, employment, income, and age. Voting rates have an impact on policy responsiveness and where tax dollars are allocated. Policies such as felon disenfranchisement and voter identification laws can significantly influence voter turnout.
Air Quality Index
The Air Quality Index is an indicator of overall air quality that takes into account all of the criteria air pollutants measured within a geographic area. The Air Quality Index (AQI) summarizes levels of ground-level ozone, particulate matter (soot and other particles), carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide into one measure.
Tons of solid waste diverted to recycling/composting as a ratio of tons of solid waste collected in the waste stream. This indicator tracks how much solid waste is collected for recycling or otherwise diverted from disposal each year. Diverting solid waste from a landfill conserves valuable resources, saves energy, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and other harmful environmental pollutants, conserves landfill space, and creates jobs.
Water Quality Index
Water quality index at sampling site(s) within the jurisdiction. The Water Quality Index, or WQI, is a number ranging from 1 to 100; a higher number indicates better water quality. The Water Quality Index condenses a lot of ecological information into one consolidated number for community members and decision makers. It also makes direct comparisons between water bodies possible.
Violent Crime Rate
Violent crime rates correlate positively to poverty levels, income inequality, and residential instability. Research suggests that violent crime rates negatively correlate to the probability of arrest, the probability of imprisonment, level of social capital, and collective efficacy.
Traffic Serious and Fatal Injury
This is a standard metric commonly used to inform transportation and road safety policy and planning.
Infrastructure and Mobility
Commute Time & Commute without a Vehicle
Research suggests that longer commutes have negative impacts on both mental and physical health. Long commutes may decrease overall sense of well-being in individuals. Conversely, some research suggests that commutes may reduce stress by providing time to transition from the work mindset to the home mindset.
Drinking Water Quality
Compliance with standards set for safe drinking water. Water is necessary for life, and the quality and abundance of drinking water can have significant health and developmental effects such as various forms of cancer, gastrointestinal
illness, and death or limiting brain development which impacts academic achievement and potentially even increases criminal behavior.
Recreation Expenditure Per Capita
General fund expenditures for Parks & Recreation expressed in terms of per capita expenditure. Funding allocated to sustain parks and recreation facilities is one measure of a community’s commitment to a system that contribute to physical, social, environmental and aesthetic quality of life. Parks provide physically activity and access to nature, as well as diverse ecological functions.
Health and Wellbeing
Premature death measures the risk of dying before age 75, uses Years of Potential Life Lost as its measure of Premature Death, per 100,000. Premature death is an important indicator of poor health or dangerous behavior in a community. Because it is not cause specific, programs and policies that are expected to have wide ranging health effects can be assessed using this measure.
General Mental Health
Average number of days a county’s adult respondents report that their mental health was unhealthy in past 30 days (age-adjustedMental health is essential to a person’s well-being, healthy family and interpersonal relationships, and the ability to live a full and productive life. Untreated mental health disorders are at high risk for many unhealthy and unsafe behaviors, including alcohol or drug abuse, violent or self-destructive behavior, and suicide.
Percent of adults age 18 or older who smoked at least 100 cigarettes in their lifetime and are current smokers. Tobacco is one of the leading preventable causes of deaths and disease in the United States. Research has shown that smoking increases the risk for chronic lung disease, coronary heart disease, stroke, cancer of the lungs, larynx, esophagus, mouth, and bladder.
Percent of adults age 18 or older who have body mass index of 30 kg/m2 or more. Adult obesity is strongly correlated with a host of health problems, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension. These negative health outcomes are correlated with economic costs (both direct and indirect) of billions of dollars.
Equity and Social Justice
Tracking the diversity of our society informs our understanding of the shifting demographics of race and ethnicity in our communities. The Racial Diversity Index can be used to leverage diversity as a community asset to support inclusion and equity policies, strengthen democratic participation, and improve economic opportunities for disadvantaged groups.
Access to Healthy Food
Healthy food retailers are considered important components of healthy, thriving communities. Limited access to supermarkets, supercenters, grocery stores, or other sources of healthy and affordable food may make it harder for some community residents to eat a healthy diet.
Number of domestic violence offenses per 1,000 residents. Domestic violence includes any violence of one family member against another family member. Domestic violence has unique negative effects on victims and families. It can cause serious and permanent emotional and psychological damage, which hurts one’s quality of life and ability to contribute to society and perform at work.
Learning and Education
High School Graduation & Attainment
Educational attainment has long been seen as a key factor in economic mobility, as high school graduation rates are correlated with improved social and economic life outcomes. As of 2015, an individual with a high school degree earned $185 more per week than someone without one, and the unemployment rate for people with a high school degree was 2.6% lower compared to people without one. High school graduates are also more likely to vote, be healthier, and commit fewer crimes.
Library Circulation Per Capita
Circulation per capita per year is a meaningful, feasible measure of library use across long periods. It indicates a significant type of individual behavior both in establishing an administrative relationship to a library and in using library materials.