Escambia Co. indicators set…now let’s get to fixing things

August 29, 2006

August 29, 2006            FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                        

ESCAMBIA COUNTY INDICATOR REPORT RESULTS RELEASED

 

PENSACOLA, FL On Tuesday, August 29th the findings of the Prosperity Pensacola Committee’s Escambia County Indicator Report were released at 10 a.m. at the Pensacola Chamber of Commerce.  The report presented data on 62 indicators of community well-being, spanning seven areas:  families, public safety, health, education, economy, community and environment. 

 

According to the report, there are 1,576 fewer students enrolled in Escambia County public schools from the 1997-1998 school year to the 2004-2005 school year, with the greatest reduction in elementary schools.  In fact, some of the biggest differences for Escambia County compared to the state of Florida relate to children.  For example, the study’s results revealed that:

°        Thirty-six percent of children live in single parent families, an eight percent increase since 1990 and a higher percentage than Florida and the US. 

°        After a brief decline in 2003, the percentage of babies born to unwed mothers continues to slowly increase in Escambia County. 

°        In 2004, 25.8 percent of children in Escambia County lived in poverty compared to 18 percent in Florida and 18.4 percent nationwide.

°        In 2005-2006, 22 percent of children entering kindergarten did not meet expectations for school readiness in Escambia County, which is lower than the state average.

°        The drop out rate for public school students in Escambia County was 3.4 percent in 2004-2005, slightly above the state average.

 

Additional findings of the report also include information related to the housing and healthcare issues in Escambia County. 

°        In Escambia County, over 43 percent of renters bear a heavy cost burden for housing relative to income.  The percentage of renters paying 30 percent or more of household income in 2004 was 43.6 percent. 

°        There are currently16.9 percent of Escambia County residents without health insurance.   

 

These indicators are intended to provide a baseline for identifying priorities, developing solutions and tracking progress toward a better life for all members of the community, particularly the children.  This first annual report, completed by the Haas Center for Business Research and Economic Development and funded by the Pensacola Area Chamber of Commerce, does not evaluate any particular service or organization.  Its purpose is to describe emerging trends and opportunities; serve as a catalyst for decision-makers; and inform citizens. 

 

“The important piece for me is the indicators that are specific to the work the chamber does in economic development and tourism,” said Evon Emerson, Pensacola Chamber of Commerce President.  “The graphs are visual measurements for the community to see how we are doing.  >From year to year we can map our progress in these areas.”

 

Organizations and institutions such as United Way, the Pensacola Chamber of Commerce, Escambia County Public Schools and city and county government can use the report as a resource to make policy, program and funding decisions and to monitor the success of these decisions and efforts.  Charlie Allcott, III (Chair), Evon Emerson, Rick Harper, Gene Franklin, Darnell Sims, Jean Norman and Ava Abney are members of the Prosperity Pensacola Committee. 

 

“You can’t fix it if you don’t know it’s broken,” said Jean Norman, United Way of Escambia County President.  “The only way there will be improvement is to measure.  United Way is committed to addressing the underlying causes that will help us build a strong, healthy community.  These indicators of community well-being will help us measure progress as we move forward.”

 

The complete Escambia County Indicator Report can be found online at http://www.haas.uwf.edu. 

 

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