County leaders address community issues using data

Olmsted County study
Olmsted County study(KTTC)
Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 8:05 PM CST
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Some new data shows how Olmsted County has changed within the last decade and how it compares to the state and county.

In the past ten years, Olmsted County’s population has grown by 12 percent and is expected to grow 8 percent in the next ten years. Olmsted County has the seventh largest population among Minnesota counties.

Olmsted County has been using data taken from the U.S. Census along with other agencies to put together yearly reports for several years.

“We use the data regularly to inform our programs and services, strategic planning, community engagement, but even when we apply for funds or grants,” Olmsted County director of policy, analysis and communication Debra Miller said.

“We really intend this to be an overview for decision-makers and stakeholders in our county. It’s not meant to be an organizational, performance report. It’s not meant to be a performance report for Olmsted County. It’s really meant to establish that baseline,” Olmsted County management analyst Tina Jordahl said.

The report breaks down into several categories including household incomes, election trends and unemployment rates.

“We’ve just been trying to look at some of the common ones, especially population demographics that people would be looking for frequently,” Miller said.

Any organization can use the data as a starting point to spearhead initiatives.

“It’s a way to provide quick access for our employees, other agencies and organizations in the community and even residents to just get a snapshot of Olmsted County,” Miller said.

One of the most common organizations to use the data is local non-profits.

“We’re hoping this is a useful tool to explain the types of programs and services that they’re wanting to offer,” Miller said.

The study also found a number of racial disparities within the county- like how the Black community has the highest percentage of people below the poverty line at nearly 31 percent.

County leaders say they are working to address these issues. Last November, the county accepted a joint study of race and racism as a public health issue.

“We are now putting together an implementation plan to evaluate and address the recommendations where the county work touches on some of these important indicators,” Miller said.

County leaders say if there is any demographic, category or topic covered in the study that you’d like to see in the next, reach out to Olmsted County.