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Global References

homeownership rate. Higher values are better. Percentage of occupied homes that are owned, not rented. Source is the 2015 Census.
nonprofits per 100,000 population. Higher values are better. A nonprofit is a 501c3 organization. Source is the IRS, 2015. The population estimate is from the 2017 Census.
racial integration. Higher values are better. Our source data consists of a Theil Index, which measures racial segregation on a score of 0 to 1, with 0 being most segregated. For simplicity, we have converted this score to a percentage by multiplying by 100. The ultimate data source is the 2010 Census.
relative disparity in unemployment rates among the disabled, compared to the total population. Lower values are better. Higher values reflect more disparity. Source is the 2015 Census.
relative disparity in Bachelor's degree among blacks and hispanics, compared to whites. Lower values are better. Relative disparity ranges from 0 to 1, where 0 reflects no disparity, and higher values reflect more disparity. Source is the 2015 Census.
relative disparity in poverty rates among blacks and hispanics, compared to whites. Lower values are better. Relative disparity ranges from 0 to 1, where 0 reflects no disparity, i.e., the poverty rates are equal. Source is the 2015 Census.
relative disparity in income among blacks and hispanics, compared to whites. Lower values are better. Relative disparity ranges from 0 to 1, where 0 reflects no disparity, i.e., the incomes are equal. Source is the 2015 Census.
relative disparity in pollution exposure among blacks, hispanics, and other, compared to whites. Lower values are better. Relative disparity ranges from 0 to 100, where 0 reflects no disparity, i.e., the pollution exposures are equal. Source is the EPA, 2011.
relative disparity in premature death among blacks and hispanics, compared to whites. Lower values are better. Relative disparity ranges from 0 to 1, where 0 reflects no disparity, i.e., premature death rates are equal. Source is the CDC NCHS, 2011-2015.
poverty rate. Lower values are better. Percentage of population below the federal poverty line. Source is the 2015 Census.
median household income. Higher values are better. Source is the 2015 Census.
households that receive public-assistance income. Percentage of occupied households that receive public-assistance income. Source is the 2015 Census. This measure is set as neutral, since although high levels of public assistance can indicate an absence of gainful employment, a low level can indicate an overly-strict public policy.
civilian labor-force unemployment. Lower values are better. Source is the 2015 Census.
average weekly wage. Higher values are better. Average weekly earnings divided by 52 weeks. Source is BLS, 2016.
labor-force participation. Higher values are better. Percentage of civilian population that is in the labor force, whether employed or unemployed. Source is the 2015 Census.
variety of industries among available jobs. Higher values are better. Job variety ranges from 0 to 1, where 0 reflects the least variety. Source is the 2015 Census.
jobs within a 45-minute commute by car. Higher values are better. Source is the EPA, 2010.
new-business growth rate. Higher values are better. New businesses as a percentage share of total businesses at the start of the year. Source is the 2013-2014 Census.
public-school spending per student. Spending per student in public K-12 schools. Source is the National Center for Education Statistics, 2014-2015.
youth who live within 5 miles of a public school. Higher values are better. Youth of ages 5-17 who live within 5 miles of a public elementary, middle, or secondary school. Source is the National Center for Education Statistics, 2014-2015.
4th-grade students who are proficient in English Language Arts. Higher values are better. 4th-grade students who reach 'proficient' or above in the English Language Arts standardized test. Source is Department of Education, 2014-2015.
population age 25+ with an Associate Degree or higher. Higher values are better. Source is the 2015 Census.
high-school graduation rate. Higher values are better. Source is the Department of Education, 2014-2015.
youth of ages 16-19 who are neither working nor enrolled in school. Lower values are better. Source is the 2015 Census.
tax returns that claim adult education tax credits. Higher values are better. Source is Brookings, 2014.
pre-school enrollment. Source is the 2015 Census.
land area covered by tree canopy, weighted by population. Higher values are better. Source is Multi-Resolution Land Characteristics Consortium; NLCD USFS 2011.
natural amenities index. Higher values are better. The natural amenities index, similar to a score, measures natural, physical, environmental qualities that most people prefer, like warm winter, winter sun, temperate summer, low summer humidity, topographic variation, and water area. The index/score ranges from -6 to +12, where higher is better. Source is Department of Agriculture, 1999.
unsafe drinking water exposure. Lower values are better. Percentage of population served by/potentially exposed to water systems that violated EPA standards. Source is EPA, 2013-2014.
airborne cancer risk per million in population. Lower values are better. Risk of contracting cancer over a lifetime. Source is EPA, 2011. The population estimate is from the 2017 Census.
risk of developing serious respiratory complications per 10,000 in population. Lower values are better. Risk of developing serious respiratory complications (e.g., obstructive pulmonary disease) over a lifetime. Source is EPA, 2011. The population estimate is from the 2017 Census.
very-hot days per year. Lower values are better. Number of days per year that are above the 95th percentile for heat index. Source is CDC, 2013.
households in a FEMA-designated flood hazard area. Lower values are better. Source is FEMA, 2011.
chronic health risk from exposure to toxic chemicals. Lower values are better. Zero is the best possible value. Source is EPA, 2015.
population without nearby access to a large grocery store. Lower values are better. Percentage of population living farther than 1 mile (urban) or 10 miles (rural) from a supermarket. Source is Department of Agriculture, 2015.
local food outlets per 100,000 in population. Higher values are better. Local food outlets (e.g., farmers markets) per 100,000 in population. Source is Department of Agriculture, 2016. The population estimate is from the 2017 Census.
food environment index. Higher values are better. This index expresses the healthiness of food retailers. The range is 0 to 100, with 100 being the best value (only healthy food). Source is CDC, 2011.
adults who don't eat enough daily fruits & vegetables. Lower values are better. Percentage of adults who consume fewer than 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Source is CDC, 2005-2009.
adult obesity. Lower values are better. Percentage of adults who are obese (BMI of 30+). Source is CDC, 2013. The estimate of $92,235 per person for the lifetime societal and public-health cost of obesity is reported in this article.
adult diabetes. Lower values are better. Percentage of adults who self-report a diagnosis of diabetes. Source is CDC, 2013.
CMS-certified beds within active hospitals per 1,000 population. Source is the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid, 2016. The population estimate is from the 2017 Census.
primary-care doctors per 100,000 population. Source is the Department of Health and Human Services, 2014. The population estimate is from the 2017 Census.
population without health insurance. Lower values are better. Source is the 2015 Census.
adults who did NOT take part in leisure-time physical activity or exercise in the past month. Lower values are better. Source is CDC, 2013.
adults of age 18+ who smoke tobacco. Lower values are better. Source is CDC, 2015.
deaths due to drug overdose, alcohol, or suicide per 100,000 population. Lower values are better. Source is CDC, 2009-2015. The population estimate is from the 2017 Census.
days per month that adults self-report 'not good' mental health. Lower values are better. Source is CDC, 2015.
older adults (Medicare beneficiaries) who are diagnosed with depression. Lower values are better. Source is Centers for Medicare & Medicaid, 2015.
preventable hospital admissions per 100,000 population. Lower values are better. Hospital admissions for preventable conditions (e.g., asthma, diabetes, dehydration, pneumonia) per 100,000 population. Source is Centers for Medicare & Medicaid, 2015. The population estimate is from the 2017 Census.
heart disease among older adults. Lower values are better. Percentage of older adults (Medicare beneficiaries) diagnosed with heart disease. Source is Centers for Medicare & Medicaid, 2015.
cancer among older adults. Lower values are better. Percentage of older adults (Medicare beneficiaries) diagnosed with cancer. Source is Centers for Medicare & Medicaid, 2015.
newborns with low birth weight. Lower values are better. Percentage of live births where the baby weighed less than 2,500 grams (about 5.5 lbs). Source is CDC, 2008-2014.
teenage birth rate. Lower values are better. Percentage of females of age 15-19 who gave birth within the past 12 months. Source is the 2015 Census.
adults who self-report fair or poor general health within the last 30 days. Lower values are better. Percentage of females of age 15-19 who gave birth within the past 12 months. Source is the CDC, 2015.
overcrowded households. Lower values are better. Occupied households that have more than one person per room. Source is the 2015 Census.
affordable housing relative to low-income population. Higher values are better. Availability of affordable housing relative to low-income population. Negative values indicate a shortfall, positive values indicate more supply than demand. Source is the 2015 Census.
vacant houses. Lower values are better. Percentage of residential addresses that are vacant. Source is HUD, 2016.
households with utility gas or electric for home heating. Higher values are better. Source is the 2015 Census.
households where housing costs (mortgage or rent and utilities) exceed 30% of household income. Lower values are better. Source is the 2015 Census.
change in median household value. Sources are the 2010 Census and 2015 Census.
per-capita spending on police and fire protection. Sources is the 2012 Census. The population estimate is from the 2017 Census.
population living close to emergency facilities. Higher values are better. Percentage of population within 5 miles of a fare station or a hospital with emergency facilities. Sources are Centers for Medicare & Medicaid and U.S. Geological Survey, 2016.
first responders per 1,000 population. First responders include paramedics, firefighters, and police. Source is the 2015 Census. The population estimate is from the 2017 Census.
violent crimes per 100,000 population. Lower values are better. Violent crime includes murder, manslaughter, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, etc. Source is DOJ 2014. The population estimate is from the 2017 Census.
property crimes per 100,000 population. Lower values are better. Property crime includes burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, arson, etc. Source is DOJ 2014. The population estimate is from the 2017 Census.
homicides per 100,000 population. Lower values are better. Source is Department of Health and Human Services, CDC, and NCHS 2011-2015. The population estimate is from the 2017 Census.
car crash fatalities per 100,000 population. Lower values are better. Source is Department of Health and Human Services, CDC, and NCHS 2011-2015. The population estimate is from the 2017 Census.
workers who commute 60 minutes or more. Lower values are better. Source is the 2015 Census.
households with no vehicle. Percentage of households with no access to a personal vehicle at home. Source is the 2015 Census.
households with internet access. Higher values are better. Percentage of households with access to internet at speeds of at least 25 mbps. Source is FCC, 2016.
walkability index. Higher values are better. This index measures walkable streats, including pedestrian-oriented intersections and diversity of area businesses. The index ranges from 1 to 20 (best). Source is Institute of Museum and Libraries Sciences and OpenStreetMap, 2011.
population. Population estimate as of July, 2017. Source: https://www.census.gov/data/tables/2017/demo/popest/counties-total.html.
in region. The 9 regions with their corresponding states or other geographic entities are: New England (CT ME MA NH RI VT), Mid Atlantic (DE DC MD NJ NY PA), Great Lakes (IL IN MI OH WI), Plains (IA KS MN MO NE ND SD), Southeast (AL AR FL GA KY LA MS NC SC TN VA WV), Southwest (AZ NM OK TX), Rocky Mountains (CO ID MT UT WY), Far West (AK CA HI NV OR WA), and Outlying Areas (VI PR GU AS MP).
on the East Coast. The East Coast states are: ME NH MA RI CT NY PA NJ DE MD VA NC SC GA FL.
in the Western states. The Western states are: HI AK WA OR CA NV MT ID WY UT CO AZ NM.
in the Southern states. The Southern states are: TX OK AR LA TN MS KY AL WV MD DE VA NC SC GA FL.