Oregon by the Numbers for 2018 released
Our ability to do great things with data will make a real difference in every aspect of our lives. — Jennifer Pahlka, founder of Code for America
Good data contribute to good decisions. The ability to access, analyze and act on data is critical to the health of organizations and communities across our state. This proves especially true in rural areas where geographic isolation and smaller population require additional resourcefulness. High-quality data help communities uncover needs, reveal trends, track progress and identify successes. Without it, decision makers must resort to best guesses.
A new report, Oregon by the Numbers 2018, pulls together a suite of community measures and displays them in an easy-to-digest format that includes charts and infographics.
It features compact county portraits for all 36 Oregon counties as well as corresponding measure profiles, with rankings whenever possible. It targets decision makers including business and educational leaders, local and state government officials, nonprofit professionals, and engaged residents. Any interested citizen should find it useful.
Oregon by the Numbers is a collaborative effort between The Ford Family Foundation and Oregon State University Extension Service. It is an outgrowth of the Foundation’s long-term investment in the Rural Communities Explorer, an online tool that helps leaders explore data and statistics about their own communities.
“We need to understand the reality of what is happening across all of our communities,” says Anne Kubisch, president of The Ford Family Foundation. “To aid that process, we need good data.”
Vince Adams, Oregon State University Extension community educator, writes in the foreword, "that the concept for the report arose out of a question: What are the essential measures that all Oregon decision makers should be able to immediately access for their community?"
Oregon By the Numbers identifies six: demographic, social, education, economic, health and infrastructure. The report features a wealth of information for each measure. The “social” indicator, for example, includes county-specific data on food insecurity, child poverty, child abuse, crime and voter participation.
The data surrounding these critical measures are organized in two ways: by county and by measure. "This approach makes it possible for community leaders to immediately find valuable county-specific information, as well as to place that info in a statewide context," says Kasi Allen, director of learning and knowledge management for The Ford Family Foundation.
Allen suggests that community leaders begin by exploring their own county’s pages. Then they can dig into specific measures. For example, the economy category includes statistics on unemployment rate, labor force participation rate, job growth, property tax and housing cost burden. They could then turn to the measure section to find out how their county compares to the rest of the state.
“Numbers never tell the whole story, but numbers do speak loudly,” Kubisch says. “They help us understand where we need to look, listen and act to make positive differences in our communities.”
Printed copies of Oregon By the Numbers is available for free to residents of Oregon and Siskiyou County, Calif., through the Foundation’s Select Books program.
Others can download a PDF version for no charge.