Data Sources

LOCIā„¢ does require a good deal of local data, but that’s more of a strength than a weakness. Local data adds credibility to your analyses. Results are based on your local government’s cost structure, its tax rates, area demographics, and retail expenditures.

Much of the data required to set up a community profile (county, city, or school system) can be found in various local government departments, state agencies, and even federal agencies. And, with federal agencies, the data is online. You’ll find county-level data much more available than city-level data which mostly has to be calculated from the county-level data.

Federal Data Sources

For current household estimates you should use the American Fact Finder website.

Total Jobs by county from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Under the Quarterly heading, choose the State and County Employment and Wages row and to the right, click on the ONE-SCREEN DATA SEARCH icon. You’ll make choices to get to your county and then choose Step 3 – Total All Industries, Step 4 – Total Covered, Step 5 – All establishment sizes, and Step 6 – All Employees and using the CTRL-click, select Total Wages too.

Commuting Patterns are used in the Demographics tab to provide percentages of jobs in the jurisdiction held by residents of the jurisdiction and in-commuters. A new federal source for this is a mapping tool put together by the Census Bureau called OnTheMap. To use this for commuting pattern information we have developed a spreadsheet that will calculate the percentages for a county profile, the cities in the county, and the county school district if it is contiguous with the county boundaries. Click here to download the Excel file.

State, County or City Sources

For tax digest (property values) information including tax rates, you should be able to talk to your tax commissioner or the equivalent local agency that handles property values.

For enrollment data and educational expenditures you can contact the local school district or sometimes the state department of education will have data on all school systems including revenue and expenditures, and enrollment by year.

For other local government revenue and expenditures values, the city or county manager or financial office will have this data. Again, it may be that a state agency collects financial data from all local jurisdictions in a common format, which would be best for consistency.

Utility data comes from each individual authority or agency that handles the utility. Rarely will a state agency collect this information from all the water or wastewater authorities in a state.

Retail sales and effective buying income (EBI) used to be available for every county in the country when Sales and Marketing Management published this information in their October monthly magazine. Estimates for 2009 can be found by clicking here.