Wake County staff relies heavily on the use of socioeconomic and demographic data to make daily decisions to serve County residents. To better gauge the welfare of Wake County residents, it is important to understand what is occurring at a scale closest to the neighborhood level in which the County’s resources are being applied. To support a broad audience, the use of these data allow for more informed civic engagement, ultimately leading to more effective resource allocation and resulting in better customer service.

The purpose of this project is to collect, assemble and analyze the socioeconomic and demographic data provided by the US Census Bureau and other federal, state or local agencies. The main source for these data is the United States Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS – most current 5-year average estimates) at the Block Group-level geography. Analysis of these data will provide an illustrative backdrop that can be compared to other Wake County data.

Many of the Block Group variables can be combined to develop a “Social Equity Atlas” as a measure of Community Health and Well-Being among County residents. This analysis will be primarily used to support Wake County Human Services initiatives but will also aid in supporting multiple Wake County agencies, including the Wake County Board of Commissioners Board Goals, Social and Economic Vitality Pilot Zones and Comprehensive Food Security.

The initial phase of the Wake County Social Equity Atlas requires the collection of updated US Census Bureau American Community Survey data. Based on the previous research of "Hardship Indexes" and "Vulnerable Communities," variables are specifically related to categories defined by the Wake County Human Services as Key Indicators. Ten variables have been chosen to integrate into two separate indexes, Community Vulnerability and Economic Health, used to identify and measure local communities’ socioeconomic conditions and vulnerabilities.

The following pages describe the indicators applied and approach taken to better understand the profiles of the communities where we live, work and play here in Wake County. Further research and resources beyond Wake County can be found using the following links:

Additional maps supporting the Social Equity Atlas are currently being prepared. Check back for more information on Food Insecurity and Location Affordability as well as Charts, Analysis and Comprehensive Planning Reports.