Community Indicators for Your Community

Real, lasting community change is built around knowing where you are, where you want to be, and whether your efforts are making a difference. Indicators are a necessary ingredient for sustainable change. And the process of selecting community indicators -- who chooses, how they choose, what they choose -- is as important as the data you select.

This is an archive of thoughts I had about indicators and the community indicators movement. Some of the thinking is outdated, and many of the links may have broken over time.

Friday, October 19, 2007

How Creative Is Your County?

When Richard Florida first began talking about the Creative Class, it appeared to be an urban phenomenon (with some nods to college towns). Now David McGranhan and Timothy Wojan suggest that creative class indicators can be used to measure both metro and nonmetro counties across the United States.

The authors of this piece use 1990 and 2000 employment classification data to determine total employment, employment in "creative' occupations (scientists, engineers, authors, and artists, or anyone whose occupation requires creative thinking for problem-solving), arts employment, and a "bohemian index" (the share of employment in arts occupations.) Their methodology is available here, as well as their data documentation. For a listing of counties and the data sets for each (look up your own!), click here (Excel file).

I found it interesting to be able to think about rural communities in terms of creativity, and not just urban competitions for who's the hippest. This appears to be a useful beginning for translating a new kind of indicators into the less-urbanized environment. I'm interested in hearing from those who are implementing this idea in their communities, and what they're finding.

If you're interested in exploring "creative class" indicators further, here's a few more data sets to consider:

NSF's Science and Engineering Indicators
Americans for the Arts' Creative Industries Reports

Hat tip: DocuTicker


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