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 Some of the thinking is outdated, and many of the links may have broken over time.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, March 26, 2009

New Reports Released: Baton Rouge, Montgomery County Ohio, York County Pennsylvania

A trio of new community indicators reports have been released, and I'd like to draw your attention to them.

From Baton Rouge, Louisiana, comes CityStats: Indicators for Tracking Our Quality of Life. The local newspaper, The Advocate, says:

The report, CityStats, will be used as a “map for improving Baton Rouge,” BRAF spokesman Mukul Verma said in a news release.

The report will be issued annually, Verma said, and BRAF officials expect trends to emerge that will show the community what’s going right and what needs to be fixed.

The 50 indicators are all contained in nine categories: culture and recreation, economy, education, environment, government and civic participation, health, infrastructure, public safety and social well-being.

(Shameless plug: the newspaper reporter quotes me in the article, which is why Baton Rouge gets listed first.)

The second report is from Montgomery County, Ohio. Bob Stoughton says:

In Montgomery County, Ohio we recently released our tenth annual progress report since the publication of Turning the Curve in 1998. We are using Mark Friedman's RBA as our model and, in fact, we have an essay by him in this, our Tenth Anniversary Report.

Throughout this year's Report we have emphasized the importance of "community conversations" about the data -- these help people realize what the data are and they help illuminate the forces shaping the trends, all of which is essential if we are to move our indicators in the desired directions.

We currently are tracking 27 community indicators grouped under 6 community outcomes. The Report includes all of these data, goes "behind the numbers" in some special analyses, and summarizes the work of a host of Teams and Task Forces each attempting to turn a curve or two.

A visit to and a click on "2008 Progress Report" on the left will lead you to the Report.

The third is from York County, Pennsylvania, and can be found at The York Dispatch reviews the report as follows:

YorkCounts released its third indicators report Friday, and the results paint an uncertain picture for York County.

The community organization studies and suggests solutions for quality-of-life issues throughout the county. Its latest report groups 38 quality-of-life indicators into six categories: community, economy, education, health, safety and surroundings.

The available data for each of the indicators vary -- for instance, charitable giving is measured annually from 2001 through 2007, while teen motherhood statistics are offered for 2001, 2003 and 2005.

"Basically, the numbers do two things. They (compare) York County to the rest of the state, and they look at the trend," said YorkCounts communications director Dan Fink.

Thanks for the updates on these reports. And please keep them coming -- I'd love to share your latest report with the good people reading this blog.


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