Leaders of Lincoln's largest public and private charitable organizations, along with city and county officials, have released a comprehensive review of key indicators to determine current conditions and to help guide the future direction of the city. Leaders say Lincoln Vital Signs 2014 is intended to generate conversations, spark connections and spur collaboration throughout the community. People are encouraged to visit the web site, www.lincolnvitalsigns.org, to read research findings and determine how to get involved.
"Lincoln is a growing and changing community as more people choose to move and live here," said Barbara Bartle, president of the Lincoln Community Foundation. "Lincoln Vital Signs 2014 was commissioned by a consortium of private, business and government entities to better understand our community. We hope this report generates discussion, ideas and action to further improve the quality of life in our city."
The study, which was assembled by the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center, is based on existing research and data related to the following areas: Community Profile, Economy and Workforce, Basic Needs, Education, Health, Safety and Community Involvement.
The report indicates Lincoln is in an enviable position with its strong economy, highly educated workforce, strong public school system, good health outcomes and effective civic services. It notes Lincoln's population has grown 16 percent since 2000, has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation, has a high ratio of workers with college degrees and a low violent crime rate compared to comparably-sized cities.
However, the report indicates a growing proportion of Lincoln's population is facing real needs. The number of people living below the poverty threshold has increased by 48 percent since 2005. There are now 12,500 children living in poverty, a number that has doubled since 2008, and Lincoln's per capital income trails the national average.
"One of our city's strengths is the ability for the private, public and philanthropic sectors to come together to create positive change. Partnerships helped to revitalize the core of our city through the Antelope Valley Project and to build the new Pinnacle Bank Arena. Partnerships are helping to transform the West Haymarket area," said Mayor Chris Beutler. "At the same time, we understand that building a stronger community is not just investing in bricks and mortar. We need to invest in our children, our families, and our support systems. Let's use the momentum we have created through these recent major projects to move forward together on these important community issues."
Citizens are encouraged to visit the web site www.lincolnvitalsigns.org and read the full report.
The following coalition of organizations funded the study: