January 19, 2024 / General

Although most crime is down in Atlanta, perceptions are lagging behindImage

Last year’s Metro Atlanta Speaks Survey (MAS) continued to find that crime was the #1 concern for Atlanta residents. However, data from the Atlanta Police Department’s (APD) Open Data Portal helps understand the city’s crime statistics.

Here are the key takeaways from the most recent update of the Atlanta Regional Commission’s (ARC) crime Tableau dashboard:

  • The violent crime rate hasn’t exceeded its 2017 level and has since dropped to a new historic low in 2023 – violent crime rates are at or near their historic lows in almost every NPU.
  • The rate of homicide incidents has dropped sharply year over year and is now at a level we have not seen since before the start of the pandemic – the homicide incident rate dropped in 19 of Atlanta’s 25 NPUs.
  • Despite the significant year-on-year decline, the homicide rate for 2023 was still higher than that observed during the 2010s.
  • While violent crimes were becoming less frequent over time, it was increasingly likely that a violent crime would turn deadly—likely a function of the type of weapon used.
  • Property crime, which had been in steady decline until 2021, had a larger uptick in 2023 than in 2022 – the reason was a sharp rise in auto theft rates, while burglary and larceny rates were basically flat.

Read the full post here.

January 12, 2024 / Health, Hispanic

Breaking access barriers is key to address health concerns of Latinos in GeorgiaImage

The Latino Community Fund of Georgia (LCF) published a thorough report on the health conditions of the Latino community in the state. The publication uses data to provide a detailed view into the health status of the community in different areas, including chronic disease, mental health, and maternal and child health.

Key findings:

  • Immigration status and lack of health insurance are primary factors limiting access to preventive and early intervention services for Hispanics/Latinos.
  • Diabetes and Hypertension among Hispanics/Latinos in Georgia exceeds the state average.
  • Special attention is needed for farmworkers and Mayan communities in Georgia, as the lack of baseline health information.
  • Anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues are a serious concern for Hispanics/Latinos.
  • The Hispanic/Latino community in Georgia faces high rates of maternal mortality and morbidity and lower rates of prenatal care.
  • Recent years have seen a decline in the life expectancy of the Hispanic/Latino community, particularly due to the impact of COVID-19.
  • Strong community networks offer valuable opportunities for health workers and community workers to expand education and vetted, credible health information for Hispanics/Latinos.
  • Hispanics/Latinos have a very high rate of workforce participation and entrepreneurship. However, 1 in 6 Latinos lives in poverty.

Read the full report here.

January 12, 2024 / Housing

Rural counties have rates of residential vacancy from 2 percent to as a high as 32 percentImage

In their recent policy brief, State of Vacant Properties in Rural Georgia, the Center for Community Progress identifies general trends in residential vacancy and distressed properties across rural counties in Georgia to provide a statewide baseline on the quantity and condition of these types of properties.

Key takeaways:

  • Eighty-five rural counties had an “Other” vacant rate above 8 percent in 2017-2021 – “Other” vacant is a term used by the Census to categorize units that are neither being held for future occupancy nor only used seasonally.
  • Vacancies disproportionately impact black households. Rural counties with the highest Black population percentage corresponded with higher vacancy rates in 2017-2021.
  • Telfair County has the highest rate of residential vacancy in rural Georgia, with 32%.
  • Rural counties are disproportionately impacted by negative health factors. In Georgia, rural counties make up the first 33 ranked lowest for health factors according to the 2023 County Health Rankings. These health factors include physical environment and socioeconomic factors.

See the full publication here.

There are 79 neighborhoods throughout Greater Atlanta with low and declining child well-beingImage

A few months ago, United Way of Greater Atlanta published the 2023 update of their Child Well-being Index. This data serves as a diagnostic tool to tell where each neighborhood is progressing toward saying that “all the children are well” and to guide how United Way directs its resources to most effectively improve child well-being and transform lives for the better.

Here are some key insights from this year’s update:

  • There are 79 neighborhoods throughout Greater Atlanta with low and declining child well-being.
  • Nearly 500,000 of Greater Atlanta’s 1.2 million children and youth live in high-need areas.
  • Data also shows that low child well-being scores disproportionately impact BIPOC populations.
  • Nearly 14,000 youth are not connected to school or work.
  • The overall regional score remained stable compared to 2018 – largely due to public and private funding and resources to offset damage from the pandemic. However, it is important to mention that since the data for the 2023 index scores was collected, these programs have largely ended.

Read the full report here.

November 28, 2023 / Commuting, Equity

Propel ATL’s ’38 Reasons Why’ report on 2022 pedestrian deaths within the city limitsImage

The new report, “38 Reasons Why,” published by Propel ATL, analyzes the 38 pedestrian deaths reported within city limits in 2022, the last year for which complete data is available.

Key takeaways:

  • The 38 pedestrian deaths in 2022 represent an increase of 23% over 2021 and 52% over 2020.
  • Over two-thirds of pedestrian fatalities occurred in majority-Black neighborhoods (25 out of 38 fatalities).
  • 63% of pedestrian fatalities occurred on roadways that didn’t have sidewalks, and 38% of bicycle and pedestrian crashes occurred on state routes that tend to lack sidewalks and bike lanes.
  • 29% of bicycle and pedestrian crashes were hit-and-runs.

“These trends highlight a glaring disparity in Atlanta’s pedestrian safety: People walking in Black neighborhoods or in low-income communities are more likely to lose their lives to traffic violence. These same neighborhoods also tend to have fewer roadway features like sidewalks, crosswalks, and bike lanes that keep people safe when traveling outside of cars”, the report says.

See the full Story Map here.

November 28, 2023 / Basic Needs, Eviction, Housing

ULI Atlanta’s ‘Housing at its Core’ Study 2023 updateImage

ULI Atlanta’s housing study was first commissioned in 2017 and released in 2018 to understand the depth and scale of the affordable housing issue across the Atlanta region. The study sought to define the problem in both market and financial terms that appealed to practitioners and developers. The 2023 updated analysis highlights the region’s current challenges in providing affordable housing for all Atlanta regional households.

Some key takeaways:

  • Since 2018, all 5-County core households area grew by 9%. Growth in affordable cost-burdened households outpaced overall household growth – increasing 15%
  • The cost to subsidize the 390,000 households within the region who are currently cost-burdened and making at or below 80% AMI in the 5-County area is $270 million per month.
  • There is currently no ZIP code in the core counties where someone earning 80% or less than the area median income (AMI) can purchase a home at the median income price.

The study defines some of the problems in the affordability crisis to be: rents and home prices growing faster than incomes, cost burden persisting across the five counties, transportation remaining a significant cost, and inequity inhibiting housing choices.

Read the full report here

October 27, 2023 / Economics, Workforce

Findings from Metro Atlanta Chamber’s 2023 Talent Supply ReportImage

The Metro Atlanta Chamber published the 2023 Talent Supply Report, an in-depth study on the supply and demand for skilled talent across the state of Georgia. The report offers recommendations & better practices for closing gaps and improving Georgia’s overall talent supply.

Key findings:

  • Both the supply of qualified workers and the demand for them are up in Georgia, but the gap between them continues to increase for most industries.
  • Most employers hiring for entry-level jobs seek talent with prior work experience.
  • A coordinated, concerted effort is needed to develop a skills-based workforce with the training and certifications necessary to meet Georgia’s ever-growing job demand.

Read the report here.

September 24, 2023 / Basic Needs, Economics, Equity, Inflation

U.S. Poverty Increased as pandemic-era programs endedImage

You may have noticed a drastic decrease in child poverty over the last couple of years. Now, you’ll see a dramatic increase as pandemic-era social safety net programs ended.

Based on the latest report on U.S. poverty by the census, the supplemental child poverty rate more than doubled, from 5.2 percent in 2021 to 12.4 percent in 2022.

The U.S. Census Bureau measures poverty in two ways every year. The first, called the official poverty measure, is based on cash resources. The second measure, the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM), includes both cash and noncash benefits and subtracts necessary expenses (such as taxes and medical expenses).

The report explains, “Social Security continued to be the most important antipoverty program in 2022, moving 28.9 million people out of SPM poverty. Meanwhile, refundable tax credits moved 6.4 million people out of SPM poverty, down from 9.6 million people in 2021”.

Charts are from The New York Times.

September 22, 2023 / Education, Food, Hispanic

Hispanic families in Gwinnett county are struggling to pay for school mealsImage

Meal debt accumulates when children get food at school, but their families don’t have money in their accounts to pay.

Even though Georgia approved a $6.3 million grant to ensure children in families who qualify for reduced meals get them for free, many don’t meet that threshold but still struggle financially.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution calculated that, as of June 2023, in the top 10 Gwinnett elementary schools with the most meal debt per student, 50.1% of students were Hispanic.

Note: this doesn’t include Title I schools. In Gwinnett, Title I schools provide free breakfast to all students.

Read the full story here.

July 21, 2023 / Environment, Health

Environmental risk in Atlanta neighborhoodsImage

As we experience record heat, a new analysis by Georgia Tech professors scores neighborhoods’ heat and flood risks.

“Those most at-risk of complications include children, the elderly, pregnant women and those with certain medical conditions, like heart and lung issues, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” So, prepare appropriately when serving these geographic and demographic communities.

Homelessness in the U.S. has been on the rise since 2017, experiencing an overall increase of 6 percent.Image

The 2023 edition of the State of Homelessness report shows that, according to the January 2022 Point-in-Time (PIT) count, 582,462 people were experiencing homelessness across America. Using data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the National Alliance to End Homelessness provides an overview of the scope of the issue in the U.S., illustrating emerging trends. Some key facts:

  • Homelessness has been on the rise since 2017, experiencing an overall increase of 6 percent.
  • In 2022, counts of individuals (421,392 people) and chronically homeless individuals (127,768) reached record highs in the history of data collection.
  • Unsheltered rates are also trending upward, impacting most racial, ethnic, and gender subgroups.
  • Homeless services systems continued to expand the availability of both temporary and permanent beds in 2022, but these resources still fall short of reaching everyone in need.
  • Homelessness rose by a modest 0.3% from 2020 to 2022, a period marked by both pandemic-related economic disruptions and robust investments of federal resources into human services.

Explore Georgia’s COC dashboards here.

A note on the data: Point-in-time data are one of two common ways to quantify the homeless population. The other is through school districts as mandated by the Federal McKinney-Vento Act. Keep both sources and their definitions of homelessness in mind when analyzing this kind of data.

June 26, 2023 / Equity

Some 17% of adult Americans younger than 30 identify as lesbian, gay or bisexualImage

As the United States LGBTQ+ Pride month comes to an end, the Pew Research Center shared five key findings about LGBTQ+ Americans from some of their recent surveys tracking LGBTQ+ topics such as gender identity, attitudes toward same-sex marriage, and experiences of LGBTQ+ Americans:

  1. Some 7% of Americans are lesbian, gay or bisexual.
  2. More Americans identify as bisexual than as gay or lesbian.
  3. Bisexual adults are far less likely than gay or lesbian adults to be “out” to the important people in their life.
  4. Some 1.6% of U.S. adults are transgender or nonbinary – that is, their gender differs from the sex they were assigned at birth.
  5. While a relatively small share of U.S. adults are transgender or nonbinary, many Americans say they know someone who is.
May 9, 2023 / Equity, Immigration, Policy

The 2020 census may have missed a large share of noncitizensInsight

A recent US Census Bureau study of government administrative data “designed to improve coverage of historically undercounted population groups” found the potential for a significant undercount of noncitizens in the 2020 Census.

NPR’s Hansi Lo Wang explains:

That gap, researchers found, was likely driven by noncitizen residents who are missing from the agency’s count, especially those with “unknown legal status.” About 19.7% of noncitizens tallied in the simulation using administrative records had addresses that could not be matched with those counted in the 2020 census.

That raises ‘the possibility that the 2020 Census did not succeed in collecting data for a significant fraction of noncitizens residing in the United States,’ the bureau’s report says.”

Undercounts lead to underrepresentation and subsequently misrepresentation in standard population data. If you work with “hard to count” populations—children under five, noncitizens, people of color, rural residents—it is imperative you go beyond population data when designing programs, policies, and funding strategies.

April 27, 2023 / Education

Burnout is the main reason why just over half of Georgia teachers are unlikely to stay in educationImage

During their 8th Grade Math Network meeting earlier this month, Learn4Life presented insights from the 2022 Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) legislative survey. Nearly 4,600 educators participated in the survey, demonstrating the value of educators’ input in critical educational decisions at the state and local levels. Some of the key findings include:

  • Approximately 31%of all responding educators report that they are unlikely to remain in education for another five years.
  • More than 56% of educators with 20 years or less experience identified burnout as the first or second reason they are unlikely to stay in education.
  • About 93% of participating teachers report their school districts have difficulty recruiting substitutes.
  • Over 90% of school and central office administrators indicate their districts are facing a shortage of bus drivers.
  • Nearly 75% of teachers who graduated from college in 2005 or later carry student loan debt.

Despite these challenges, educators are drawn to and stay in education because of the professional satisfaction from helping students, employment benefits, and supportive colleagues and a positive work environment.

April 26, 2023 / Early Childhood

Gaps in access to early learning programs are region-wideImage

GEEARS recently commissioned Reinvestment Fund to update its ATL ACCESS Map. The ATL ACCESS (or Atlanta Child Care and Early Learning Supply Status) study analyzes regional supply and demand data to better understand where early education programs are most needed.

The key takeaway from the latest study: There is a near universal gap in Quality Rated programs across the five-county Atlanta region.

This supply, demand, and gap data can be found in the ATL ACCESS layer of the new Readiness Radar tool.