Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Using Chicago Community Data Portal

In late July I wrote two articles (here and here) showing ways to use maps in a Chicago community area level analysis intending to determine how many non-school tutor, mentor and learning programs are needed based on the level of poverty and violence and the number of youth being served by existing programs.  

The data for my maps was provided by the Heartland Alliance, in 2011 and again in 2018.

Recently the Heartland Alliance released a new Chicago Community Data Portal which you can find at this link.   On October 5th representatives from the Heartland Alliance gave a presentation to the ChiHackNight community, providing an overview of the new dashboard.  I've embedded that below:

This is one of many data platforms I point people to as I encourage local groups to build a case for investment in many community supports, including non-school tutor/mentor programs, in areas where the data indicates a need.

In my July articles I encouraged people to do this type of analysis, then build a communications program that shares the information and draws attention and needed resources to the neighborhood on an on-going, multi year effort.

The dashboard is loaded with information, available for every community area in Chicago. As you look at the different data tables you can download an image, and embed it in your stories, just as I've done below.

You can find this table at this link.   Note that in the table at the right you can see demographic information for the entire city, and for this specific community area. 

The table has three categories.  At the top is shows the community area name and racial demographics.  In the  middle it shows age group and total population for the city and the specific community area. At the bottom it shows poverty level, extreme poverty level and child poverty percent.

Since the demographics are shown as percent levels you'd need to multiply a percent by the number of people in the community area to determine the number of people in a specific group.

In 2011 and 2018 the Heartland Alliance provided data to me, showing the number of kids age 6-17 in poverty, in each community area.  I put that into the presentation shown below.

Using the data provided by the Heartland Alliance and others community leaders in every neighborhood should be leading an effort that determines the need for non-school tutor/mentor programs, identifies existing programs and what age group they serve, what number of kids are served and what type of tutoring, mentoring and learning is offered, and  how many more programs are needed.

That's what the graphic at the left is showing. Teams of people with a wide range of talent are needed to help build great, on-going, tutor/mentor programs. They are also needed to help fill each community area with a wide range of programs helping kids from birth-to-work.  And they are needed at the city level,  mobilizing resources and assuring that they flow to every high-poverty area on an on-going basis,  not just to a few high profile places or programs.

Take some time to get familiar with the Heartland Alliance's  Chicago Community Data Portal. Then visit this page and get to know other data portals that might aid your analysis.  Learn to embed the data and maps into articles, just like this one!

Here's an article showing how you can follow negative news with map stories that are intended to draw attention, dollars and volunteers to tutor/mentor programs in areas featured in the negative news. 

Youth in local schools, faith groups and non-profit organizations could be creating and publishing these map-stories on a regular basis in an effort to improve their own opportunities. 

Thank you Heartland Alliance for the great resource.

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