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 Some of the thinking is outdated, and many of the links may have broken over time.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 5, 2008

Benchmarking Central Ohio 2008

The folks at Community Research Partners in Central Ohio have been busy, and their work is being recognized in the local media. I thought I'd pass along links to their report as well as to the coverage it has received. (If you're in one of the 15 other metro areas benchmarked in their report, you'll appreciate the research done for your community as well! I know we do in Jacksonville -- thanks, y'all!)

Here's the information you'll need, from

Benchmarking Central Ohio 2008
The Columbus Partnership

On April 2, 2008 Benchmarking Central Ohio 2008 was released at a forum at the Columbus Metropolitan Club. The report assesses how the 8-county Columbus metropolitan area is doing, in comparison to 15 other metro areas, using a panel of 60 diverse indicators. The indicators focus on four broad areas—population vitality, economic strength, personal prosperity, and community well-being—each of which describes a facet of the community that contributes to economic competitiveness. The research was commissioned by The Columbus Partnership, a CEO organization of 30 top business and community leaders in central Ohio whose mission is to improve the economy of central Ohio and be a catalyst for growth in the region.

The 2008 report represents the second year of the project. Although two years do not represent a definitive trend, this report provides the latest data available and builds the foundation for tracking trends over time. An objective of the 2008 report was to keep the content and format as stable as possible to allow comparisons with the 2007 data; however, some changes were made based on feedback from the Benchmarking Advisory Group and data availability. The following are new in the 2008 report:

Patterns across Indicators: This matrix at the beginning of each section lines up the metro areas based on their ranking on a key indicator and shows other indicators that have similar rankings to that key indicator. For example: What is the profile of high growth metro areas, compared to slow growth metro areas?

Columbus trend chart: For indicators where two years of data are available, a new Columbus Trend chart has been added to the indicator page.

National context data: Each of the indicator bar graphs now has a new bar to show the data for the U.S., all metro areas, or other relevant basis of comparison.

New and revised indicators: There have been selective indicator changes (some additions, deletions, and modifications). These are explained in Appendix A.

Data source changes: There are some changes in data definitions, methodologies, and sources that may impact comparisons between the 2007 and 2008 reports. These are explained in the indicator definition and Appendix A of the 2008 report.

Read the 2007 report here.

Benchmarking Central Ohio 2008 PRESS COVERAGE:

This second annual report prepared for the Partnership by CRP was widely discussed in front-page stories, editorials, and letters to the editor in the mainstream media, in alternative publications, and on blogs and electronic forums. One highly charged topic was whether central Ohio “lacks culture” because it ranked last among the 16 metro areas in the study on arts establishments per capita. The accuracy of this ranking was widely debated. The research served as a catalyst for community dialogue, which furthered CRP’s mission to use data for community change.

Data from Central Ohio Tell Two Tales,Columbus Dispatch
Grim reality: Perception is that city lacks in arts, Columbus Dispatch
Report: Columbus's growth, progress has ups, downs, Columbus Business First
Benchmarking Report Ranks Central Ohio in Top Tier for Key Workforce Indicators, TechWeek

Editorial, Columbus Business First
Letters to the editor, Columbus Dispatch

Notes From the Reserve
The Urbanophile

How Does Columbus Measure Up?, WOSU's Open Line with Fred Andrle

Benchmarking Central Ohio 2008
Benchmarking Central Ohio 2008 Highlights
Benchmarking Central Ohio 2008 Press Release


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