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 Some of the thinking is outdated, and many of the links may have broken over time.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Indicator Selection Criteria, Part II

Here's a shorter set of selection criteria for indicators, this one taken from

Guidelines for choosing indicators

The consortium has established four rules to guide a committee’s choice of indicators.

  1. The data must be publicly available without charge. The data comes from both public and private sources, but most of the indicators are drawn from local, state or federal government statistics.
  2. The data must be the most current available, after taking into account time lags between the collection of data and its public release.
  3. The data selected must cover at least the last 10 years, and it should be placed in the context of national data, or data from other cities. Any comparisons to other cities should be on an “apples to apples” basis. In other words, the basis of comparison must be consistent, whether it’s a single county, a Metropolitan Statistical Area, or some other basis.
  4. Data and the indicators based on it should be actionable. This means that the situation being described by the data suggests a problem, and some type of public response would be appropriate. It does not mean, however, that PittsburghToday will take any direct action to organize such a response, since it is an information program and not chartered to conduct advocacy or undertake civic initiatives.


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