Using the Site
Using the Site
This section is provided to help you make the most of the ACT Rochester website. There are three topics that can be reached by clicking on the headings below:
1. A Guide to the ACT Rochester Website
The ACT Rochester Website is rich with information. Many of the indicators are provided in both text and graphic format. Detailed information and trend summaries 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 the ACT Rochester website a more satisfying experience.
Organization of the Site
Most of the information on this site can be accessed from one of two locations: the tabs along the top of the page or the tabs that extend across the entire page just below the ACT Rochester logo.
The tabs at the top of the page contain overview information relating to ACT Rochester, including:
|About Us||Information on the goals of ACT Rochester and the organizations that participated in developing it|
|Using the Site||The section you are in now, which aids in using the site|
|Resources||Information about and links to other valuable sources of data|
|Our Community||Comprehensive summaries for each of the nine counties in this region (Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates Counties) as well as links to all indicators containing data for the City of Rochester|
|Contact Us||Information on how to contact ACT Rochester|
An FAQ Can also be found at the bottom of the site.
The tabs underneath the ACT Rochester logo relate to the nine topic areas used in ACT Rochester. These are arranged alphabetically across the page. By clicking on any of these tabs, you will be taken to the main page for that topic area. This page is the launching pad for your review and research.
On the topic page you will find a brief description of the topic and our general approach to measurement. Along the left side of the page is the follow:
|Key Trends||An overview of the data and the observable patterns arising from the data. The most significant trends are included, along with a summary table that describes whether our region is improving and how we compare to New York state. The Trends Section can be considered the "forest," while the indicators constitute the individual "trees."|
|What's Being Done||Recent local accomplishments or important activities. The items selected for inclusion relate directly to the issues highlighted by the indicators. Easy links are provided to help you get information about the items outlined here. ACT Rochester provides these links as a convenience, but does not necessarily endorse the organizations involved or their programs, nor can it affirm the accuracy of information in linked sites.|
|Resources||Key governmental, private and nonprofit organizations providing service or information relating to the topic. Again, the groups selected for this section are involved directly in the subject matter being measured. Convenient links are included. ACT Rochester provides these links as a convenience, but does not necessarily endorse the organizations involved or their programs, nor can it affirm the accuracy of information in linked sites.|
|Related Indicators||There might be some indicators that do not live in this topic area, but are related. You can find these indicators here. For example, Tourism and Recreation Spending lives in the Arts, Culture and Leisure Topic Area, but can also be found in the Related Indicators section of Economy.|
Each of these topic indicators can expand to reveal all of the indicators for the topic area in the category. Clicking on any of the indicators will transport you to detailed information about that specific measure, including a description of what is measured, why it is important and how the region is performing.
Click here to view All Indicators.
Navigating the Site
Here are several additional tips for navigating the ACT Rochester website:
|To return to the home page...||From any page on the site, you can return to the home page by clicking on the ACT logo in the upper left (or lower left) corner of the page.|
|To get to a topic main page...||From any page on the site, you can navigate to a topic main page by clicking on the purple tab with the name of the topic.|
|To change the type size...||Just click on the box with the letter "A" at the bottom of the page that represents the relative size you want.|
|To customize charts...||After clicking on the charts in the detailed indicator pages, you can customize your own chart with the data available. You may also save or print these charts using the icons in the upper right corner of the chart.|
|To download data...||After clicking on the detailed indicator pages, click on "Data Tables." By clicking on this, you will be able to see the actual data displayed in an Excel spreadsheet.|
Engaging with ACT Rochester social media
On the Hompage you can participate in the ACT Rochester community conversation happening on Facebook or Twitter. You can also sign up to receive periodic ACT Rochester email notifications using the Contact Us form in the top right corner of the site.
2. About the Data.
Accurate, timely and independent data is central to the ACT Rochester program and website. The following is a description of the data used; how it is presented; how it was developed; and how it will be updated.
What is being measured?
ACT Rochester uses over 100 indicators that measure economic, environmental, social, or cultural conditions, over varying periods of time. The indicators were selected to provide an accurate assessment of our region's wellbeing in nine program categories.
How are the indicators expressed?
What are the sources of data?
The data is drawn from highly reliable sources, usually government or private sources with extensive experience in data measurement and reporting. The Center for Governmental Research (CGR) conducted the research to develop the indicators. In some instances, CGR conducted independent calculations or combined data sources to achieve the best available indicator, but in all cases, the information derived from independent, authoritative sources.
Is this the most recent data?
Yes. Some sources update data more frequently than others, but in all instances the most updated information from authoritative sources is used.
Will the data be updated?
Yes. It is the intent of ACT Rochester to conduct two types of updates:
1. Periodic updates of specific items will be placed in the Data Updates tab in the appropriate program categories whenever such information becomes available. However, these periodic updates will not be reflected in the charts, graphs and trend summaries.
2. On an annual basis, a systematic update will be made to incorporate any new information that is available.
Both the periodic and annual updates will be announced in the News section on the home page.
Where do I find the indicators?
On the ACT Rochester home page, there are nine purple tabs that relate to the nine program areas used in ACT Rochester. These are arranged alphabetically across the page. By clicking on any of these tabs, you will be taken to the main page for that topic area. This page is the launching pad for your review and research.
On the topic page you will find a brief description of the topic and our general approach to measurement. Along the left side of the page are the indicators, which will transport you to detailed information about that specific measure, including a description of what is measured, why it is important and how the region is performing.
Are there comparisons or benchmarks?
Yes. Most indicators include comparisons over time as well as benchmarks with New York State averages. In many cases, comparisons to national benchmarks are also noted. Where meaningful, comparisons among specific counties (or with the City of Rochester if available) are highlighted. Individual data sets may be viewed and downloaded for those wishing to do additional analysis and comparisons. Directions for doing this are contained in "A Guide to the ACT Rochester Website" (above).
You may also be interested in Our Community Report Card that provides an overall assessment of how our region is performing in the twelve topic areas. Report Cards for each individual county are also available and can be accessed in Our Community.
Are there any summaries?
Yes, there are several summaries available. In the Our Community tab, summary information is available for each individual county. The county-specific information includes basic demographic data, as well as a summary of each county's profile using the nine program categories of ACT Rochester (not all counties have information in all nine program categories, but to the extent that the data does exist, it is highlighted in the county summary).
On the topic page for each of the nine program categories, you may access the Trends tab. In this section, you may view a trend summary and analysis of that program category. This section was developed by the Center for Governmental Research and it includes both technical information and interpretations of the data. Each trend summary includes a "Snapshot" chart that summarizes key indicators, our community' progress and a comparison with New York state as a whole.
As mentioned above, you may also be interested in Our Community Report Card that provides an overall assessment of how our region is performing in the nine topic areas. Report Cards for each individual county are also available and can be accessed in Our Community.
Who selected the indicators?
The ACT Rochester program was developed following an extensive community engagement and professional research process. This process was overseen by a joint task force of the United Way and Community Foundation. The task force researched other communities and vetted a wide-range of alternatives before settling on the design of ACT Rochester.
In selecting the indicators, 12 focus groups were engaged, one for each program category. These focus groups consisted of private, governmental, academic, and nonprofit leaders. The focus groups brainstormed possible indicators and responded to candidate indicators developed by the Center for Governmental Research. The focus groups provided invaluable advice on which indicators were most useful and which indicators should be avoided. Approximately 100 individuals participated in this process.
Following the focus group process, the Center for Governmental Research conducted extensive research to determine which indicators most appropriately reflected community wellbeing; had solid, credible sources; had a data history that would be useful in understanding trends; and would be able to be updated in the future. From this effort, approximately 170 indicators were approved by the joint task force.
What happened to the Environment, Technology, and Transportation sections?
In 2013, the ACT Rochester website was redeveloped with a new platform, incorporating more modernized browsing features such as the social media plugins and interactive highcharts. During this redevelopment, the twelve topic areas were assessed given the current data available and traffic on the site. The Environment, Technology, and Transportation sections were becoming a challenge to maintain, in part because of data sources that were unreliable or not regularly updated. In some cases, we understand this was due to funding cuts for data gathering agencies (such as the Department of Environmental Conservation). Indicators such as pollution of waterways, waste generation and recycling are examples -- indicators we could not update with reliable data. These areas also experienced the least traffic from our site visitors. In part due to these problems, we decided to eliminate these topic areas until we have more stable sources of data. We were able to maintain several of the indicators in these eliminated sections such as:
- Percent of Days with Good Air Quality, which was moved from Environment to Health;
- Alcohol Related Crashes, which was moved from Transportation to Health; and
- Technology Teachers in Public Schools, which was moved from Technology to Education.
3. A Glossary of Terms:
|Term||Definition/How used in the ACT Rochester website|
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 infant mortality rate, the unemployment rate, or the air quality index.
ACT Rochester uses indicators throughout this website. For each of the nine program categories, the indicators are accessed from the main page, or topic page. A detailed definition of each measure is available by clicking on "View All" under "Topic Indicators".
|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. But if the series is inflation adjusted, the changes then reflect only the other factors. For example, the Median Household Income in our region (Financial Self-Sufficiency) declined by 10.9% since 2000 – when adjusted for inflation. The actual income values declined by less, but by using inflation adjusted numbers, this indicator shows the loss of purchasing power of our area incomes. Whenever data is inflation adjusted it is labeled as such. In the example of median household income, the data is labeled as "2011 dollars," meaning the value for 2011 is actual and the other data in the series is adjusted. Usually, data is adjusted to the most recent year in the series.|
|Mean||The mathematical average of several values. For example, the Average Charitable Giving (Community Engagement) is calculated by adding all of the contributions made to charitable organizations, and dividing that amount by the number of people making a contribution.|
|Median||The median refers to the mid-point of a set of values. For example, our region's Median Household Income (Financial Self-Sufficiency) is $52,400. This means that an equal number of households earn more than $52,400 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. For example, our whole nine-county region has a population of 1,217,867 (2011). With a population of 745,625, Monroe County represents 61 percent of the region. Mathematically, the percent is derived by dividing the given value (Monroe County in this example) by the value of the whole (the nine-county region); and then multiplying the result by 100 to express the result as a percent of 100.|
|Percentage||The same meaning as percent.|
|Per capita||Per person (literally, "per head"). This measure is particularly useful in comparing activity among units of differing sizes. For example, if the gross cost of Monroe County government is compared with the surrounding counties (Economy), the comparison is not meaningful. But, by comparing Monroe County's per capita cost ($2,148 in 2011) with that of the surrounding Counties ($1,999 in 2011), it can be said that the surrounding counties spend 6.9% less than Monroe on a per capita basis.|
|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. Basically, 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 major.|
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 fashions. ACT Rochester strives to use rates that are understandable. Some examples are: the number of Art Teachers per 1,000 students (Arts, Culture and Leisure); the number of serious crimes per 10,000 residents (Public Safety); and the number of Doctors per 10,000 residents (Health). In the last example, the supply of doctors is expressed as 28 per 10,000 residents. This rate could have been listed accurately as .0028 doctors per resident. But that expression is harder to understand.
As used here, region refers to the nine-county ACT Rochester area: Genesee; Livingston; Monroe; Ontario; Orleans; Seneca; Wayne; Wyoming; and Yates. If a different basis is used to define the region, it is described.
The Rochester Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) is established by the US Census Bureau and it consists of five counties: Livingston; Monroe; Ontario; Orleans; and Wayne.
The term greater Rochester does not have a specific definition. It refers generally to the City of Rochester and the surrounding developed area.
The Surrounding Counties refers to all counties in the region, excluding Monroe County.
Banner photo provided by Peter "Skippy" Bushnell