STARKVILLE — In many rural counties, gaining access to statistical data about local demographics, education and economics is difficult.
Communities need this data to make decisions, recruit employers, and prepare for the future, said Bo Beaulieu, director of the Southern Rural Development Center at Mississippi State University. In response to this need for centralized information, the center has updated its Community Data Center, a resource that collects, manages, and presents statistical data organized by county.
“Our data profiles are designed to reduce confusion by focusing in on a smaller set of variables, ones that community leaders and local organizations tend to view as important and relevant,” Beaulieu said.
Combining various sources of population and socioeconomic data, these profiles provide a snapshot of counties in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
Beaulieu said the profiles are valuable because data are presented at different points in time, allowing users to monitor changes. All counties are classified by their metropolitan status, which allows them to be compared relative to other counties of similar size and resources. Data are constantly being updated, so users have access to the most current data available for all counties in the South.
These updated profiles feature data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Economic Modeling Specialists Inc., and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Each profile includes information on overall population size and other demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, such as ethnicity and age, education, housing, poverty and unemployment rates.
The Community Data Center is available at srdc.msstate.edu/data/center/.