Communicating the Economic and Social Health of the Marshfield Area Community
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 data about the “Vital Signs” of the Marshfield area. This data is the result of collaboration between the Marshfield Area Community Foundation, the Marshfield Area United Way, and the Marshfield Center for Community Outreach. It shows us an indication of the health of our Community.
Vital Signs is a ten year look at different economic and social parameters for Marshfield. We have looked at data over the past decade on population, new home and non-residential starts, home values, number of foreclosures, unemployment, income, number ofstudents receiving free or reduced hot lunches, the percent of children living
in families in poverty, and the number of individuals receiving economicassistance. We choose these parameters becausethey are important and solid, objective data. This data will be available to update in the future.
The data reflects the difficult economic times many of our friends and neighbors are facing. Our statistics have proved that we have an increase in unemployment, foreclosures, and the number of students who qualify for free or reduced hot lunches. We now know that the mean income in Marshfield has decreased. These numbers are not all doom and gloom. We see the population starting to increase in the Marshfield area, and increases in unemployment numbers have leveled off. 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 generouscommunity 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 improveour own health.
You may pick up a copy of Vital Signs at our office, the United Way office, or the Marshfield Public Library or download a copy here.