Pensacola Metro Dashboard
What gets measured gets improved
Objective benchmarks are vital to gauging progress and identifying areas that need improvement. The Studer Institute created this dashboard in 2014, tracking 16 metrics to provide an at-a-glance look at the area’s growth, educational attainment, economic prospects, safety and civic life. All metrics represent Escambia County data. Click each card for comparisons.
It’s no surprise that participation in the state’s voluntary prekindergarten program is struggling, due in large part of the COVID-19 pandemic. Research suggests that children who complete VPK are more ready for kindergarten than those who don’t.
Kindergarten readiness rates declined across the state in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. How quickly our youngest learners can recover lost learning time remains to be seen. Children who are not ready for kindergarten are more likely to struggle in their school careers early on.
Free & Reduced-Price Lunch
This helps measure poverty in a community. Children living in households at or below 185% of the poverty level are eligible to receive free or reduced-price meals at their schools. For 2021-22, the state rate was 64%.
Escambia County has struggled in this area for years, ranking near the bottom in preterm birth rate among 17 counties of similar population. The state rate is 10.5.
High School Graduation Rate
This tracks the percentage of students who finished high school in four years. Escambia’s graduation rate for 2021 was 87 percent; the state rate was 90.1 percent.
Communities with higher percentages of college-educated residents have higher wages overall. Pew Research Center study shows people with a college degree earned about $17,500 more a year than those with just a high school diploma. In 2020 in Escambia County, 27.2% of people had a bachelor's degree or higher. The state rate was 30.6%.
In 2020, 38.1 percent of Escambia family households were headed by single parents. The state rate was 34 percent. The median income for a single-parent family in Escambia is $31,224; for a single-parent family led by a woman, the median income is $28,368.
Cost of Child Care
This tracks average child care costs (for one infant and one preschooler) as a percentage of median income for single-parent families. The median income for an Escambia single parent family is $31,097. If that single parent is a woman, the median income is $27,454. The expense of childcare impacts other financial choices a family is able to make.
The rule of thumb for affordability is that housing should cost no more than 30 percent of your monthly income. This point tracks the percentage of people who spend more than that on rent. As of 2020, the state figure is 52.6 percent.
The ALICE Rate is a way to track how many families are struggling in a community. ALICE stands for Assets Limited Income Constrained, Employed – it means people who have a job, but have minimal savings, often described as “paycheck-to-paycheck families.”
Median income is the very middle of the income scale — half of earners make more than that, half make less than that. It is one measure of the average person’s purchasing power and economic well-being. In 2020, the state median income was $57703 (adjusted for inflation).
Labor Force Participation
The unemployment rate is often reported as a measure of joblessness, but it leaves out people who quit looking for work. Labor force participation shows how many people who are eligible to work are doing so. It has hovered around the same rate in Escambia County since 2010. In 2020, the state rate was 58.9 percent.
Median Workforce Age
One measure of a healthy, vibrant community is the median age of the workforce. A younger workforce can be an indicator that young professionals are staying in their community — or being drawn to it from elsewhere — seeking a good quality of life. As this number rises, it can indicate an aging population that is may not be attracting and retaining young talent.
After stagnating though the 2000s, the region’s population grew steadily since 2010, though Santa Rosa's growth still outpaces Escambia’s.
This measures the number of crimes reported per 100,000 citizens, including both violent crimes and property crimes. The crime rate has been declining in Escambia County for the last five years. In Escambia it was down 7 percent in 2020 from 2019. The state crime rate is down 15.7 percent for the same period.
How healthy is your democracy? Voter turnout is one way to measure that. In the 2022 general election, turnout was 51.79% in Escambia County, down nearly 10 percentage points from the comparable 2018 midterm election.
Overweight & Obesity Rate
Two out of three people in the Pensacola metro area are either overweight or obese, meaning they have a body mass index of 25 or higher. Obesity-related health problems diminish worker productivity and add cost to the health care system.