Using the Erie Vital Signs Site

This section is provided to help you make the most of Erie Vital Signs, launched by The Erie Community Foundation.

Erie County Areas

This project includes data for Erie County, the state of Pennsylvania, and the nation.

A Guide to Erie Vital Signs Indicators Website

Erie Vital Signs is rich with information, with indicators provided in both text and graphic format. Detailed information, trends, and maps are also available. Some users will want quick reference information, while others will want more detail. Spending a few minutes reviewing this section may aid your work and help make using the Erie Vital Signs website a more satisfying experience.

Organization of the Site

Information on this site can be accessed from the topic links at the main navigation menu at the top of each page. These are the data categories that represent the information pertinent to a site for community indicators. Each data category has an overview that contains a summary of the indicators chosen for that category, as well as a page dedicated to each topic.

Topic Key Indicators

Key Indicators have been chosen from each sub-category and are presented in several locations on EVS. Foremost, a table of the indicators is present on the EVS homepage, and link to the sub-category which they represent, as well as show their trend. Key indicators per main category appear on the category overview page upon clicking on the category name on the main navigation. Lastly, there is a full page of all key indicators located on the top navigation menu labeled Dashboard, these indicators are able to be filtered based on category. 

Topic Dashboards

Topic pages contain vizualizations in the form of interactive dashboards, which could contain maps, charts, graphs, tables, or further detailed information. Sub-category pages also include short written analysis based on insights gleaned from the visualization analysis. Finally, all topic information is available to download as raw data from the bottom drop-down on all sub-category pages.

A Glossary of Terms

Term Definition and How it is Used in the Erie Vital Signs Website
Dashboard   A visual summary of key indicators, which can be filtered by category.
Data Category The top-most category for data types, broken out into 8 community data types on the navigation menu above.
Topic The topic-specific data which falls under the Data Category heading, where the visualizations and insights can be found.
Indicator An indicator is a measure that helps to describe an economic, environmental, social, or cultural condition over time. An indicator is usually expressed as a rate or percent, such as the poverty rate, the unemployment rate, or the high school graduation rate. Erie Vital Signs provides information and analysis on 70 indicators throughout this website. For each of the seven indicator categories, the individual indicators are accessed from the main page or topic page. A list of every indicator is available by clicking on "All Indicators" on the right side of the Environment topic.
Key Indicators Single number which exemplifies the Topic and acts as a signpost of that dataset's representation of the Erie County community.
Inflation Adjusted This refers to an actual value that is adjusted to account for inflation. The changes in a series of actual values over time reflect several factors, including inflation. If the series is inflation adjusted, however, the changes reflect only the other factors. For example, median household income in our state (Economy) is adjusted to the most recent year in the series.
Median The median refers to the mid-point of a set of values. For example, the median household income in our state (Economy) is $60,000. This means that an equal number of households earn more than $60,000 as earn less.
Percent The portion of the whole represented by any given value. The whole is 100 percent, and the percent of any given value is its relationship to 100 percent. Mathematically, the percent is derived by dividing the given value by the value of the whole, and then by multiplying the result by 100 to express the result as a percent.
Per capita Per person (literally, "per head"). This measure is particularly useful in comparing activity among units of differing sizes. An example is comparing tourism spending per capita in Erie County to other locations.
Poverty Level The United States government uses two principal methods to measure poverty: the poverty thresholds established by the Census Bureau and the poverty guidelines used by the Department of Health and Human Services. The Census Bureau approach is used to determine how many people live in poverty, and the Health and Human Services data is used for various benefit programs, such as eligibility for food stamps. In some applications, eligibility for federal assistance programs is based on multiples of the poverty guidelines (such as 125% or 165% of the poverty level). The difference in these measures is not significant.
Rate The relationship between two values. For example, when driving, the rate of speed is measured by the distance traveled (miles) in a certain amount of time (hours). Hence, the rate of speed is expressed as miles per hour. Rates can be expressed in a variety of ways. Erie Vital Signs strives to use rates that are understandable. An example is the property crime per 1,000 residents (Community & Civic Engagement).

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