Skagit County Trends Newsletter

Issue #5

WELCOME!

Skagit Valley Trends logo

The Population Health Trust partners regularly make use of the Skagit Trends site which serves as the premier source of data for them and our community. It’s common for people to pause during a meeting to look up data that quickly answers questions. This means participants to stay focused on the topic at hand and make accurate and timely decisions. The hospitals, social service agencies, schools and public health partners have commented about how data helps them stay on track and move their business along.

The Trust in collaboration with the Children’s Council are conducting a six month Gaps Analysis process to determine how to improve the first 1000 days of life for parents and babies. The Trends data was the group’s starting point to learn about the health status of these two generations. Participants were pleased with such easy access to the data and it taught many of them to be good consumers who ask critical questions.

The Population Health members are hopeful more people will make use of this site in order to make good individual and family decisions and good program and policy decisions. Quality data contributes to health equity by showing which community members are faring well and those who aren’t. The more people understand the status of people and their conditions, the more empowered they are to advocate for better health, better communities and better lives for all.

INDICATOR NEWS


NEW SEARCH FUNCTION IS NOW LIVE -


Search graphic

Located in the top right corner of the Skagit County Trends 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: 4.1.1 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 Skagit County Trends website.

DIFFERENT INCOME INDICATORS: WHAT ARE THEY AND WHY SO MANY? -

Gold Coin Stacks graphic

Means, Medians, and Per Capita's - oh my! Sometimes with all of the different income measurements on the Trends site, they can start looking all the same.

When unsure of the definitions behind numbers, data, and statistics, you might think they make as much sense gathering insights from a bowl of goulash. Thankfully, a course in statistics is unnecessary to understand the differences. Once a few definitions are better understood, it becomes easier to know what is being measured in an indicator simply by looking at the title.

The "mean" is simply the average and is…

NEW GROWTH MANAGEMENT ACT POPULATION PROJECTIONS ARE NOW OUT -

People Community graphic

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 accessed 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 three different projections: low, medium, and…

INDICATORS IN ACTION


OPIOID PRESCRIPTION RATE HIGHER THAN STATE AND U.S. -


Joanne Lynn photo

Skagit County has been following available opioid-related data since 2016 with the initiation of the PHT's Opioid Workgroup Leadership Team. The total opioid related death data has been on the rise since 2002 with some notable spikes in 2009, 2013 and 14 - as seen in the Total Opioid-Related Deaths and Rate per 100,000 Residents indicator on the Trends site.

In 2016 Skagit County hired a new coroner, Hayley Thompson who has been diligently reviewing all opioid related deaths and more accurately classifying causes of death. A close focus on this trend along with a project to collect additional data…

ALICE POVERTY MEASUREMENT - DIFFERENT THAN THE FEDERAL POVERTY LEVEL -

Debra Lancaster photoBill Henkel photo

When considering poverty measurements, most people are most familiar with the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), if only by name. Created in the early 1960's, the FPL annually calculates national income thresholds based on family makeup and not varying by geography. Over time, many have come to view the FPL as an inadequate means of determining the number of U.S. households facing severe financial hardship.

A new indicator on the Trends site, ALICE Household Survival Budget for a Family of Four, is a poverty measurement produced the United Way that seeks to address the…

HOUSEHOLD INCOME DISTRIBUTION SLIGHTLY MORE EQUAL THAN WASHINGTON OR THE U.S. -

Anneliese Vance-Sherman photo

In 2017, there were a record 169 billionaires were "too poor" to make the Forbes 400 list. Elsewhere in the nation, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 2017 Point-in-Time Estimates of Homelessness reported the number of people in America experiencing homelessness increased for the first time in seven years.

The previous statements drastically compare income and wealth at each end of the spectrum. A more complete approach at understanding the differences is to look at the entire population. The Trends provide insight into the number of…