By Staff –
ACT Rochester and the Rochester Area Community Foundation have recently released a report documenting how the nine-county Rochester region lags behind its counterparts throughout New York state, in the areas of education, health, and public safety.
However, the report, which ACT defines as the area’s “2018 Community Report Card,” also found the region is doing as well or better than the rest of the state in the areas of community engagement, the economy, financial self-sufficiency, and housing.
This year, the goal of the report was to leverage the data in an effort to create a compelling story about the community, organization officials said.
“The massive data available on ACT Rochester, coupled with compelling stories, can bring out of hiding community issues in such a way that they can no longer be ignored,” Tom Argust, chair of the ACT Rochester advisory committee, stated.
This year’s report also upheld the fact that the city of Rochester’s child poverty rate for African Americans remains at 50 percent, compared to 22 percent throughout the rest of the state, and 21 percent throughout the region.
In addition, the report found that over a third of families in the region were headed by single parents from 2012 to 2016, similar to the state level, but above the national level.
The rate was higher in the city, at 73 percent.
Here are some additional findings from the report:
- Community Engagement: Residents in the region are registered to vote, and turn out to vote at higher rates than the state. In 2016, 82 percent of regional residents were registered, compared to 80 percent of state residents. In 2016 (a presidential election year), 58 percent of regional residents voted, compared to 50 percent of state residents.
- Education: Spending per student by school districts in the region increased 46 percent since 2000, even after adjusting for inflation. However, in 2016, local school districts spent just over $21,100 per student, below the state rate of $23,400.
- Education: Only 37 percent of third graders in the region passed the state’s reading test, linked to the Common Core standards, which was below the state’s 43 percent. Passing rates were higher on fourth grade math: 41 percent in the region, compared to 43 percent statewide.
- Housing: Homeownership rates in the region have remained level since 2000, with 68 percent of homes occupied by owners from 2012 to 2016, above the state (54 percent) and national (64 percent) levels. However, the city of Rochester had the lowest homeownership rate, at 36 percent, and a median home value of $77,800 for 2012 to 2016, down 10 percent from 2000.
- Public Safety: The region’s rate of violent crime increased 17 percent from 2000 to 2016, in contrast to a decline of 32 percent throughout the state. The city of Rochester had a 19 percent increase in violent crime during this time. While the state experienced declines in violent crime, most counties in the region saw an increase, with the exceptions of Wyoming and Yates counties.
Separately, ACT has also released data for each of the nine counties in the region, as well as comparison data for the four area cities.
Data for indicators in the report ranges from 2014 to 2017.
Visit ACTRochester.org for additional information regarding the report.