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‘Tis the Season – 12 Days of Data

Written by: Jason Jones

On December 22, our holiday gift to all of you will be an Information to Action Framework that we believe will be useful as your community charts its economic recovery from the pandemic. But first, over the next couple of weeks, we’ll share some of the data snapshots that comprise our composite metrics.



Our Gift to You!

Here we are nearing the end of 2020 – a year like no other. One thing has been made clear: taking meaningful action during a novel crisis is tricky. Yet, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic this spring, North Carolina communities keep rolling up their sleeves and giving it their best shot.

How does the ncIMPACT Initiative propose to help? On December 22, our holiday gift to all of you will be an Information to Action Framework that we believe will be useful as your community charts its economic recovery from the pandemic. But first, over the next couple of weeks, we’ll share some of the data snapshots that comprise our composite metrics.

In the spirit of the season, ncIMPACT will share a “12 Days of Data” series on Twitter and Facebook beginning December 7. For each of the first 10 days, you’ll get a sneak peek at two original data snapshots, revealing all 20 of the metrics we have chosen for our composite. On day 11, we will share three original data snapshots that reveal our aggregate composite layers. On the 12th day, we will release all the data, documentation, and open-source code. We will also link to related content on our website throughout the entire series.

We will be discussing all of this during our data-informed decision-making webinar on January 27. Find more information and register here.

                                               The Invitation

Please follow along with our 12 Days of Data on Twitter and Facebook and share your own ideas and questions!

The Details

For those who need more details, here you go. We know many of you have spent months poring over data points that tell the story of COVID-19 impacts, such as 211 referrals, evictions, late property tax payments, public safety calls for service, and permit issuances. Some of these may resonate as you reflect on conversations, decisions, and innovations in and around your jurisdiction over the last 10 months. We have seen many tough responses, such as eliminating merit increases, cutting new or existing positions, delaying capital projects, and implementing hiring freezes. We have also heard incredible stories of innovative adaptations and service evolutions happening across the country at all levels of government.

As you leap into next year, we hope our non-comprehensive selection of indicators will offer tremendous guidance to the recovery landscape for communities in North Carolina. The indicators are constructed with this framework in mind for how communities in North Carolina might think about how to make tough decisions over the next 6-12 months to prioritize limited resources.

We combine publicly available data to understand where economic growth and recovery may be most challenging and where communities may be at the greatest risk of the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 and widening inequities. This composite approach acknowledges the complex operating context for local government and the intricate social fabric in communities that makes it almost impossible to adopt a one-size-fits-all understanding.

Figure 1: Information to Action Framework

Our composite is constructed in three layers:
  1. Developing an understanding of a community’s resilience and/or disposition towards widening inequity using publicly available Census data at the Census Tract level.
  2. Developing an understanding, where data is available, of the emergency financial support resources received which may be masking short-term consequences and delaying second-order impacts of the pandemic at the county level.
  3. Developing an understanding of real-time fluctuations in a selection of publicly available indicators at the county level.

More information about all the composite metrics, methodology for standardizing our assessment of the metrics, and documentation for the data will be released over the next two months. In addition, we also plan to release a physical tool for folks to view the data and possibly build their own versions of our composite.

Happy Holidays from the ncIMPACT team!

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