There’s a nifty online interactive map that allows people to compare the different rates of opportunity across states and counties in the United States. It is called the Opportunity Index and was created by Measure of America and Opportunity Nation.
The Opportunity Index measures 16 key indicators along economic, educational, and community lines and provides a grade for each state and county in the nation.
Scoring is done on a scale of 100, with the top state in terms of opportunity being Vermont, which has a score of 66.58 out of 100.
Minnesota comes in at number 6 on the list, with a score of 61.62.
What’s really interesting is drilling down to the county level, which is easily accomplished with the search feature.
Morrison County, for which Little Falls is the county seat, scores at 46.32 in opportunity. The letter grade assigned by the Opportunity Index is a “C”. You can see Morrison County’s opportunity score, along with the factors measured, here: http://opportunityindex.org/#9.00/45.985/-94.053/Morrison/Minnesota.
A few of the statistics from the index are as follows:
Morrison County’s unemployment rate is 7.5%, compared to 4.5% in the state and 6.3% in the nation.
The county’s poverty rate is 13.2%, compared to 11.4% in the state and 15.1% in the nation.
25.6% of adults have an associate’s degree or higher, compared to 43.8% in the state and 37.1% in the nation.
There are 75.52 doctors per 100,000 people in Morrison County, compared to 301.1 in the state and 270.17 in the nation.
The county’s violent crime rate is one of the most positive measures on the list, with a rate of 79.21 per 100,000. This compares to 230.9 in the state and 386.9 in the nation.
How do you feel about Morrison County’s “C” grade? Do you think the Opportunity Index is measuring the right things? Should some other factor be considered that isn’t on the list? How might we improve the county’s opportunity level?
If you want to check out the opportunity levels in other counties, visit the site’s home page.