Benton-Franklin Trends Newsletter

Issue #9

WELCOME!

NEWS FROM THE REGION
CARRIE A. GREEN - EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, THREE RIVERS COMMUNITY FOUNDATION

Carrie Green Photo

Data tells stories.

The Benton Franklin Trends website tracks a large number of statistics in our community. Data on health and education, housing and economic s, and the environment and agriculture, reveal a wealth of information about our area.

Topics for this newsletter are personal income growth, increase in households with the internet, and the dramatic increase in suicide and suicide attempts by youth. What story does this data tell? One narrative is that higher incomes bring better access to the internet, Facebook, cell phones, etc. If you Google "data correlating teen suicide and social media access" you will find many studies linking the two. Increased access to sharing applications at first feels welcoming, but then it turns to isolation, inadequate comparisons, and bullying. Left unsupervised, the not yet matured psyche experiences despondence.

Seeing the high jump in suicides and attempts by our youth, what are we prepared to do? Does exposure to social media have a negative impact? We as the collective Benton and d Franklin population need to turn this curve downward. And we can follow that progress because of the data Benton and Franklin Trends gathers. Identifying issues and rallying the community around them is one of the top reasons to follow the website. It might just save lives.

INDICATOR NEWS


SEARCH FUNCTION IS NOW LIVE -

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Located in the top right corner of the Spokane Community Indicators website, you will find a completely new feature: a search function. Entering a keyword into the search bar gives quick results on the topic of interest. The feature searches in-site only, and the results show the indicators in which the keyword, or similar terminology was found. For example, typing "air quality" into the search bar results in one indicator found: Air Quality Days by Severity Level.

This new feature is very useful to those who have a specific measure in mind, or when lack of time doesn't allow for a leisurely stroll through the Benton - Franklin Trends website.

MAKE ROOM FOR POPULATION GROWTH IN BENTON AND FRANKLIN COUNTIES -

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The Growth Management Act was adopted in 1990 to help manage and accommodate growth and development in all counties across the state of Washington. Under this act, the Office of Financial Management (OFM) develops population projections for each county in Washington, and the counties use these projections to make decisions on growth and development. The population projections and more information can be found here.

When the OFM calculates population projections, they use the most recent census data, in this case, they used the 2010 census and they calculate…


TWO DRAMAS IN SLOW MOTION -

Pyramid chart graphic

Population changes, at first, might not appear that interesting. But a good data visualization can often make the mundane exciting and alive - as is the case with population changes.

According to Pew Research, the two dramas occurring in slow motion are 1) the U.S. is "becoming majority non-white", and 2) "a record share is going gray." In short, the U.S. is becoming more diverse and we are living longer.

But wait - the most startling aspect is the "age pyramid". Age pyramids, typically used by demographers to show a breakdown of the population by age in comparison to other age groups, have always been in the shape of a pyramid. Pew Research

INDICATORS IN ACTION

YOUTH SUICIDE AND SUICIDE ATTEMPTS INCREASING -

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The question of art imitating life or life imitating art doesn't really have a definitive answer because both inspire each other. This question isn't problematic when experiencing positive thoughts and behaviors that are likely to inspire the same positive aspects. But when negative thoughts and behaviors are inspired and copied, that's a different matter.

According to the Parent Resource Program, during 2016 suicide was the second leading cause of death in the U.S. for youth ages 10-24 (second only to accidents / unintentional injuries), with a daily average of more than…

INCOME RISE IN THE AREA BUT FOR REASONS YOU MAY NOT THINK -

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Should residents of the greater Tri Cities feel like they have a little more coin in their pockets? The answer is yes, if one looks at the indicator covering per capita personal income. At $42,156 for 2016, the average resident has experienced a 2.3% annual growth rate since the start of the Great Recession. This puts the Tri Cities' matching stride with the U.S. at large.

The reasons for the increase may hold a surprise, however. It hasn't been entirely due to local workers getting significant raises. The average annual wage has gone up about half a…

HOUSEHOLDS WITH THE INTERNET CONTINUES TO INCREASE -

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Designed by the U.S. military and completed in 1946, the world's first programmable computer, ENIAC, or Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, took up a 50x30 foot basement of a school. ENIAC had "approximately 18,000 vacuum tubes, 70,000 resistors, 10,000 capacitors, 6,000 switches, and 1,500 relays" and was originally designed to compute values for military artillery range tables.

Today's smartphones are "millions of times more powerful than all of NASA's combined computing in 1969." The ability to connect a…