Each year I visit my health care provider for my annual check-up. She runs tests that give her a good picture of my overall health. These tests are my vital signs. The results are analyzed and she tells me about the results, so I may make changes to improve my “vital signs.” By making these changes it is our hope that my overall health improves.
Just as my vital signs reflect my health, we have new updated data about the “Vital Signs” of the Marshfield area for 2012. Vital Signs is a twelve year look at economic and social parameters for Marshfield prepared by a collaboration between the Community Foundation, The Marshfield Clinic Center for Community Outreach, United Way, and the City of Marshfield. We have updated data on population, new home and non-residential starts, home values, number of foreclosures, unemployment, income, number of students receiving free or reduced hot lunches, the percent of children living in families in poverty, and the number of individuals receiving economic assistance.
The data reflects the difficult economic times many of our friends and neighbors are facing. The new data has shown proved that we have had a decrease in unemployment and foreclosures, but we’ve also seen a decrease in the median household income in Marshfield. We have seen an increase in the percent of children ages 5 to 17 in families in poverty. The population has continued to increase in the Marshfield area as well. We can use this long term data as a baseline to help analyze what happens in the future.
We are living in the information age, where we need access to good data about what really is happening here in our own backyard. This data is critical in making informed decisions regarding the best ways to identify and address problems with increasingly scarce resources. We hope that our area’s decision makers and groups use this data to make informed decisions about using those scarce resources and that Vital Signs will help. We live in a very generous community and are sure that Marshfield’s Vital Signs will continue to improve, as we make the needed changes in our community, just as we would do to improve our own health.
You may pick up a copy of Vital Signs at our office or download a copy on our website at: http://marshfieldareacommunityfoundation.org/uploads/pdf/Vital%20Signs%202012.pdf
Amber Kiggens-Leifheit is the Executive Director of the Marshfield Area Community Foundation. Her column appears monthly in the News-Herald. She can be reached at 715-384-9029 or firstname.lastname@example.org