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 Some of the thinking is outdated, and many of the links may have broken over time.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Children's Health Indicators

The Mulford Library Blog shares a nice description of the National Survey of Children’s Health and the new data set it provides. Here's what they say:

The National Survey of Children’s Health is a new survey that was conducted for the first time between January 2003 and July 2004. It provides statistics on child and adolescent health and well-being at the national and state levels. Read more about the survey by clicking here.

Results from the survey are easily accessible to the public via the
NSCH Data Resource Center. This interactive data query feature allows users to customize data and make comparisons between different states and among children of different ages, race/ethnicity, gender, household income, family structure, etc.

The National Survey of Children’s Health addresses various areas, including
over 60 child health indicators and content from the Healthy People 2010 goals.

So I went to this site and started to poke around. I really liked seeing data in areas that are hard to find good data for -- such as:

  • Mental Health Care: % children with current emotional, developmental, or behavioral problems who received some type of mental health care during the past year
  • Medical Home: % children who have a personal doctor or nurse from whom they receive family-centered, accessible, comprehensive, culturally sensitive and coordinated health care
  • Early Childhood School: % children ages 3-5 who regularly attended preschool, kindergarten, Head Start or Early Start during the past month

I liked being able to see the state numbers and compare to other states or the national averages. I really liked being able to click through each number and get the raw data, confidence intervals, and then get detailed explanations of each number with a simple mouseover. Very good metadata. I really really liked then being able to look at the same question for subgroups, such as race/ethnicity, family structure, family income, sex of child, insurance type, and special health care needs status. The fact that the site will graph the numbers for you and allow you to select which kind of graph you'd like to see was icing on the cake.

So what didn't I like? It's 2003 data, and single point in time. It's state-level only. I ended up want more data, more current data, more local data, and trend lines. It may seem selfish, but the site is so well done it just left me hungrier for more.

Take a look!


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