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 Some of the thinking is outdated, and many of the links may have broken over time.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Data Source Lists

Every now and then I run across websites that provide a list of data sources for indicators. Sometimes these data source lists are state-specific, but often they provide a wealth of information for someone searching for just what agency or organization holds the information they so desperately need.

Nationally, you can't go wrong if you start with, which pulls together in one place links to the statistical information provided by U.S. government agencies. You can search the data by topic or by agency, and even see data profiles on MapStats.

In Florida, a nice list is provided by the University of Central Florida Libraries. The page organizes sources in Demographics, Education, Criminal Justice, Health, and Other Topics, then lists Other Resources to find information. What's really helpful about the site is that they provide the following information about each data source they link to: Name of the resource, counties covered, geographic levels (such as city or census tract) for which data are available, demographic information (such as gender or race) provided with the data, and both topics and dates covered by the data.

California is well served by the Community Services Planning Council in Sacramento, which provides links to 225 data sources covering topics from Agriculture to Transportation. The links again cover national to local data sources, so take a look to see if they have the data you need.

If you're in the Northwestern United States, don't miss the Northwest Area Foundation's Indicators Website to get a lot of information quickly on what you need. You can get information at the county level for the states from Washington/Oregon to Iowa/Minnesota. In addition, the data source information is at the bottom of each indicator page, so even if you're not from those states (or if the indicators aren't exactly what you want) there's a starting place to go find more data.

Do you have any other data source lists that you find useful? If so, please share them.


Post a Comment