Each Gulf Coast Community Indicators topic page includes a “Resources” tab. These tabs contain information and links to organizations that provide data or services in the topic area. This section includes links to general sources of data and information. There are three types of information provided in this section: national data sources and services; local information sources; and information about community indicator projects.
National Data Sources and Services
The United States Census Bureau is one of the world’s largest sources of data and analysis. In fact, the basic enumeration conducted every 10 years is required by the U.S. Constitution (Article 1, section 2). Census Bureau information includes both data from its enumeration conducted every 10 years and various data estimates, analyses, and reports. For a summary of Census Bureau data tools, click here.
An important initiative of the U.S. Census Bureau is the American Community Survey, which samples 3 million households annually to provide updates to the 10-year enumeration. Currently, the American Community Survey provides estimates for the nation, states, and individual communities with a population of 65,000 or more (Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee, and Sarasota Counties, as well as several cities in the region).
One particularly useful Census tool is the American Fact Finder, which provides relatively easy access to data and which can be sorted by a wide range of factors, even your own zip code.
There are various public and private services that utilize Census information to provide useful analysis, reports, and maps. Following are some particularly useful sources:
- Census Plus provides comparative rankings through 2007 on over 100 key indicators for the 100 largest U.S. cities, counties, and metro areas, and all 50 states.
- Social Explorer provides web-based maps illustrating a wide range of demographics down to the census tract level.
- USA.com includes a wealth of information, from statistics to photographs, for the largest U.S. cities and their surrounding areas.
- Community Commons uses data similar to Gulf Coast Community Indicators, and permits web-based mapping.
- DiversityData.org provides profiles and rankings for metropolitan areas.
- CensusScope provides quick charts, maps, and rankings for the nation, states, metro areas, and counties.
Local Information Sources
- The Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council maintains several valuable resource pages, with access to maps, reports, and other data items. Data includes both historical information and forecasts of future demographic changes.
- SCOPE (Sarasota County Openly Plans for Excellence) convenes data-related community meetings and compiles an annual Community Report Card on Sarasota County.
- The Bradenton Area Economic Development Corporation has a Data Center, with historical information and projections on demographic and economic topics.
- The University of Florida maintains a directory of statistical resources on a variety of Florida topics, including general demographics, education, agriculture, and more.
- Florida SouthWestern State College, Charlotte Campus
- Enterprise Florida, the economic development organization for the state, has a list of county profiles, with information on employment, education, tax rates, and more for each county in the state.
- Library Foundation for Sarasota County
- Manatee Library Foundation
- Manatee Education Foundation
About Community Indicators
Our project is modeled after community indicator efforts used in many other communities. Currently, there are dozens of community indicator programs in the United States and in other countries. While programs differ in design, they have a common element: the use of community data to understand and address critical issues. The Community Indicators Consortium provides general information on community indicators and communities using this approach. Jacksonville, Florida, was one of the earliest communities to use community indicators. The Jacksonville Community Council provides research information on the value of community indicators. Vital Signs is a community indicators program used by many localities in Canada.
Several community indicator projects were studied in the development of Gulf Coast Community Foundation’s Community Indicator site, including the following:
- The Boston Indicators Project
- Toronto’s Vital Signs
- Spartanburg (S.C) Community Indicators Projects
- Ottawa’s Vital Signs
NOTE: Consult the “Resources” tab in each topic section for additional information.