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The State of North Carolina Cities
Data Portal

Introduction

It has been said that cities are man's greatest invention. Cities provide opportunity for interaction, networking, sharing ideas, and presenting and enjoying cultural offerings. North Carolina's metropolitan areas, which are the economic engines of the state, are growing. The state as whole is becoming more urban. The well-being of our cities is critically important to the prosperity of the state and of its citizens, but insufficient attention has been paid to the current health of North Carolina's cities.

The State of North Carolina Cities (SNCC) Data Portal is a long-term initiative developed to inform citizens and policymakers about the changes occurring in North Carolina's cities. With funding from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, the Center for Urban and Regional Studies is assessing changes in the conditions of North Carolina's 44 largest cities (representing 40% of the state's population). We hope that the SNCC Data Portal will be used by citizens' and policymakers' to better understand the challenges faced by many North Carolina cities. By presenting these data in an easily digestible format we hope that policymakers and citizens across the state will be better able to craft effective economic and social development policies.

This online resource currently includes ten different indicators, with more to come. The data on these 10 indicators were derived from the decennial census and the American Community Survey's (ACS) three-year estimates. We have used ACS estimates through the 2008-2010 timeframe, the most recent data available. These data can be downloaded as an excel spreadsheet under the "Reports" tab.

Under the "Indicators" heading, you'll find summaries for each of the ten indicators, including information on data sources. Use the drop-down menu and arrows at the top of these pages to navigate through time. As you click through the different time periods, you'll also find maps that visually summarize cities' statistics relative to the statewide average. On the left side of each map, a legend displays the forty-four cities in rank-order for that indicator and time period, including a bar chart representation of municipalities' statistics compared to the state average. (This legend also indicates which cities, if any, lack data for that time period.) These maps can be resized using the sliding bars at the bottom right of each page. This will be particularly helpful when trying to distinguish individual cities among tightly clustered groups. The dots on the map are sized in relation to the statewide average, a larger dot means the city is performing better than the state as a whole for that indicator. To move around when zoomed in, simply click and drag. Finally, to get a quick summary for a specific city, use the drop-down list on the right side, above the map.

We hope you find this useful and we welcome your comments. If you have suggestions or questions please send them to Todd Owen at towen@email.unc.edu.

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