Community Dashboard

Community Initiatives

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. 


-18.4% VS. 2019

VPK Participation

It’s no surprise that participation in the state’s voluntary prekindergarten program declined in 2020, 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.


+1.0% VS. 2019-20

Kindergarten Readiness

Escambia's readiness rate has increased about 1 percentage point a year since 2017. The state rate was 57 percent in 2020-21. Children who are not ready for kindergarten may struggle to catch up.


+3.4% VS. 2019-20

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 2020-21, the state rate was 62.8.


+2.1% VS. 2018

Preterm Births

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 10.6.


+1.7% VS. 2019

High School Graduation Rate

This tracks the percentage of students who finished high school in four years. Escambia’s graduation rate for 2020 was 86.5 percent; the state rate was 90 percent.


+1% VS. 2017

College Graduates

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 2019 in Escambia County, 27% of people had a bachelor's degree or higher. The state rate was 30.7%.


+7.6% VS. 2017

Single-Parent Households

In 2019, 43.8 percent of Escambia family households were headed by single parents. The state rate was 36. The median income for a single-parent family in Escambia is $31,097; the median income for a married-couple family with children is $80,583.


+4.0% VS. 2016

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.


-7.3% VS. 2017

Rent-Burdened Households

The rule of thumb for affordability is that housing should cost no more than 30% of your monthly income. This point tracks the percentage of people who spend more than that on rent. As of 2019, the state figure is 52.4%.


+1% VS. State


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.”


+1.7% VS. 2017

Median Income

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 2019, the state median income was $65,772.


-0.3% VS. 2017

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.


0.1 VS. 2018

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.


+0.8% VS. 2018


After stagnating though the 2000s, the region’s population grew steadily between 2010 and 2018, though Santa Rosa's growth still outpaces Escambia’s.


-3.4% VS. 2018

Crime Rate

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 3.4 percent in 2019 from 2018. The state crime rate is down 6.3 percent from 2018.


Unchanged VS. 2016

Voter Turnout

How healthy is democracy in your community? Voter turnout is one way to measure that. In the 2020 general election, turnout was 73.9% in Escambia County, the same as in the 2016 general election. The state turnout was 77%.


-1.2% VS. 2017

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.

Community Initiatives

The Studer Community Institute exists for one reason: to improve the quality of life by building vibrant communities.

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