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 Some of the thinking is outdated, and many of the links may have broken over time.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, April 15, 2008

Pick-ups and Politics

I don't know if you've been following this series of indicators that tries to define which U.S. states are most like Pennsylvania. This is an interesting use of unusual indicators to define community.

In the first blog entry, Brian Schaffner looks at pick-up truck ownership and shopping at Wal-Mart. Conclusions? "As you can see from the figure, the percentage of Wal-Mart shoppers in a state is related to the percentage of pickup truck owners."

In the second post, the key indicators are "the percentage of citizens in each state who watch PBS (at least occasionally) and the percentage who say that they are invested in the stock market."

The third post compares indicators of gun ownership and feelings toward Jon Stewart. And this post puts it all together.

I don't know how many of you are currently using any of these six indicators for your community. I share them with you for two reasons: first, because the analysis of which state is "most like" Pennsylvania is interesting, and second, because sometimes we need to think differently about how to measure trends in our communities. (Like riding bicycles.)

Anyone have other examples of unusual indicators we should pay attention to?

(Hat tip: The Numbers Guy)


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