- 2014 - January - 27th -

JCCI annual progress report shows community gains, losses

By David Chapman, Staff Writer

Urban core crime rates and vacancies are down. Factors for a 'vibrant economy' are trending upward. And there have been gains in graduation rates and kindergarten readiness.

Conversely, there also are increases in children living in poverty, suicide rates and fewer people who feel "safe" in their neighborhoods. Median earnings are down for both genders and racism is seen as problem.

All of those community indicators and more are part of the latest Jacksonville Community Council Inc. "Quality of Life" annual report that maps gains and losses for a wide range of Jacksonville issues.

In its 29th year, the annual report is considered the longest-running report of its kind in the world.

"This is a critical moment in Jacksonville's history, as the community explores its resiliency and rebounds from the Great Recession," Bill Rupp, review committee chairman, said in printed comments for a preview released Friday. "The message in this year's progress report is that we raised the bar … We see Jacksonville's potential and have raised our expectations."

Areas in education, crime reduction and children with health insurance were deemed to receive "gold stars" for the progress over the past year.

The rise in bicycle accidents — a 47 percent increase since 2010 — and rise in 20 percent rise in suicides were seen as troubling.

The organization will embark on a "Mental Health Inquiry" next month.

This year's committee conducted the review "through the lens" of JAX2025 community visioning exercise.

Those targets areas were: excellence in education; a vibrant economy; a cleaner, greener city; arts and entertainment; a healthy community; having an exemplary government; transportation; diversity and inclusion; neighborhoods and the urban core; and "where people matter."



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Looking at the local trends

The latest Jacksonville Community Council Inc. "Quality of Life" progress report will be released in full this week, but a preview was available Friday. Here is a snapshot of a few of the report's findings:

'A place where people matter'

Percent who feel 'safe' in their neighborhood (yes)66%61%
Children living in poverty23.5%25.5%
Suicide rate (per 100,000 people)14.217.1

'Vibrant economy'

Adults holding bachelor's degree or higher25.5%26.4%
Households paying 30% or more for housing41%41%=
Employment growth in transportation, warehousing sectors-1.2%0.5%

'Exemplary government'

Can you influence local government? (yes)28%29%
Elected leadership "good" or "excellent"40%34%
Satisfaction with basic city services80%70%

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