Free Online Data Tools Provide Powerful Statistics for Funding Applications

United States map with a magnifying glass over it.

Compelling statistics help grant applicants make the case for their populations’ needs, but where can an organization access those numbers? Thanks to Measure of America, an initiative of the Social Science Research Council, there is a place you can visit online to retrieve a wide range of up-to-date data. The site offers several cutting-edge data retrieval tools as well statistical reports on states, congressional districts, and select metropolitan areas and cities.

Here we have highlighted some of the site’s tools and reports:

Common Good Forecaster. Recently updated, this interactive tool shows how educational attainment is associated with key indicators of well-being such as life expectancy, the percentage of low birth weight babies, the local poverty level, and children’s ability to read. Organizations can use this data to bolster grant applications for programs that aim to improve young people’s academic skills or achievement.

For each state and for counties that have data, users can see percentages in various categories of educational attainment such as “completed high school,” and “completed some college.” Users can also see how changing the level of education attainment would affect indicators of well-being. For example, in Aransas County, Texas, 32 percent of students complete only high school, 33 percent complete some college, and 22 percent graduate from college. The county also has a life expectancy of 76 years. If the user changes the county’s educational attainment percentages so that, hypothetically, 17 percent complete only high school, 18 percent complete some college, and 51 percent graduate from college, the life expectancy rises to 77 years.

Human Development Index map. The American Human Development Index, a measure of well-being created by Measure of America and based on the United Nations’ Human Development Index (HDI), factors in life expectancy at birth, school enrollment, educational attainment, and median income for residents of a specified geographic area. Through the HDI map users have access to information from four data sets collected between 2000 and 2014. . The resulting number, a score on a scale from zero to 10, provides a way to compare the well-being of people who live in different places. This data will be useful if you apply for funding that targets the overall well-being of youth or specific health issues such as food insecurity or lack of health insurance.

The color-coded map of the United States reveals that most states in the South have low scores ranging from 3.81 (Mississippi) to 4.35 (South Carolina), whereas states in the mid-Atlantic region and the Northeast have higher scores, ranging from 4.93 (Maine) to 6.17 (Connecticut). Users of the interactive map can also select specific indicators, such as “percent of children age six and under who live in poverty.” Using that indicator at the county level, one can see that 61 percent of children 6 and under live in poverty in Bolivar County, Mississippi, whereas only 17 percent of their peers in Madison County, Mississippi, live in poverty.

Disconnected youth. In contrast to the map-based data in the Common Good Forecaster and the Human Development Index map, the “Disconnected Youth” section of the Measure of America site is more report based. The page summarizes the findings from three recent Measure of America reports about youth who are not in school and not working, and the reports themselves are downloadable via the page. Organizations can pull detailed data about disconnected youth from these reports, including statistics on race, gender, and ethnicity.

More on Gathering and Sharing Youth Data

Recommendations for Counting Homeless Youth and Surveying Their Needs

New Tip Sheet on Sharing Data About Youth Experiencing Homelessness

Primary Sources: New Tool Measures Youth Connections to Adults

Publications discussed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Clearinghouse on Families and Youth, the Family and Youth Services Bureau, or the Administration for Children and Families.

9-5 pm Eastern