Quality of Place is More than Sun & Surf

Only three counties in Northwest Florida (NWFL) equal or exceed the average national quality of place based on the “Social, Economic, and Physical Environment” factors data reported in the 2018 County Health Survey.   Only three counties (Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, and Wakulla) in NWFL exceed or match the national average on these factors.  As a region, NWFL is better than the national average in only six of fourteen factors measured (Chart 1): Unemployment, Income Inequality, Violent Crime, Injury Deaths, Severe Housing Shortage, and Air Pollution.  The weakest area in Northwest Florida is education.  The blog TARGETING TRAINING TO TALENT NEEDS points out some specific areas needing attention if NWFL wants to attract higher paid talent.

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Chart 1

NWFL is not a homogeneous region and as a consequence the quality of place factors reported vary widely from county to county.  In Chart 2, aggregated Social & Economic Factor and the aggregated Physical Environment Factor are shown for the region.  The data is compared by ranking the national data into ten groups or deciles from best to worst and determining where each county falls.  In this approach the 10th decile is the best and the 1st decile is the worst.

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Chart 2

For more information read the following blogs:

*1  2/14/18 Measuring Your Community’s Quality of Life: Discusses the relationship of employment growth and pollution growth to quality of life and livability.

*2  6/9/17 Is Livability the Driver of NWFL’s Economic Future?: Discusses factors such as amenities, cost of living, crime, education, employment, housing, weather

*3  11/15/17 Place Based Economic Development Works!; Discusses the role and types of amenities by age group.

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