Key indicators show that it's mixed bag in terms of quality of life in the nine-county region, according to a new report (included below) from ACT Rochester. But, as usual, things look much worse when you zero in on the City of Rochester.
ACT Rochester compiles a yearly report card that measures what it says are key indicators of the community's well-being. It also includes a statewide comparison and says whether the trends are heading in a positive or negative direction, of if they are unchanged.
The indicators are arts, culture, and leisure; children and youth; community engagement; economy; education; financial self-sufficiency; health; housing; and public safety.
• State funding for the arts has declined more than 50 percent regionally since 2001, following a statewide pattern;
• The region's child poverty rate, 19 percent, is below the state and national rates. But the child poverty rate in the City of Rochester is an absurd 47 percent. The city numbers are even higher for African American and Hispanic children;
• The trade, transportation, and utilities sector, along with the health care sector, provided the most jobs in the region between 2000 and 2012 -- 32 percent;
• Twenty-nine percent of third graders in the region passed the state's new reading test, below the state's 31 percent average. The passing rate in the City of Rochester was an abysmal 6 percent. The numbers are similar for the state math test;
• The City of Rochester had the lowest median income in the region, $30,708, with the highest rate of poverty, 32 percent.
The public safety section of the report is intriguing. It says that violent crime in the City of Rochester increased 33 percent from 2000 to 2012. But year-end reports from the Rochester Police Department show a general downward trend in violent crime, at least from 2009 on.
The numbers reinforce a December report put out by ACT Rochester and the Rochester Area Community Foundation. Rochester's concentration of poverty is unique and profound, the report says, and poses deep barriers to social and economic progress.