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 Some of the thinking is outdated, and many of the links may have broken over time.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 30, 2007

Soda Pop Statistics

The second most important question when ordering a non-alcoholic beverage in the American South is what to call it. (The first, of course, is "sweet or unsweet"? That's iced tea for the non-Southerners reading this.)

Ordering a "Pop" marks you as a tourist, instantly. Depending on how urbanized the environment you're in, you can sometimes get away with "soda." But in the kind of town where you can't call a cab, what you're ordering is a "coke", even if it's a Sprite or a Mountain Dew.

What is this handy bit of information doing on a blog devoted to community indicators? Thanks for asking. The Great Pop vs. Soda Controversy is a website with statistics, mapping, and surveys to track this critical information on a county-level basis across the country. A more detailed map charting 120,464 responses is also available.

There's other fascinating data sets out there, if you start looking. The Dialect Survey is interesting. The Common Census Map Project charts the geographic radius of the various cultural and economic centers in America. Richard Florida's Singles Map charts the cities with greater numbers of single men or single women compared to their counterparts. On a sobering note, Maps of War has a series of maps, including the deadliest wars, history of the Middle East, and growth of religions over time.

Please share other interesting data sets and maps -- I don't know how useful these are, but wouldn't it be fun to compare social issues and beverage labels to find any correlations? Maybe it's time to buy the world a Coke -- then again, maybe not.


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