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BLOG: York City in numbers

Sean Philip Cotter

The York County Community Foundation has put out a really convenient roundup of a bunch of charts and graphs quantifying the state of life in York County

I picked out a few that either directly address or, by my subjective judgment, seem relevant to the city of York, because that's my job.

York City rolls out healthy corner stores initiative

All this was information that has been out there — but much of it has been buried deep in the bowels of what sometimes can be a Kafkaesque rabbit hole of state-government websites. The community foundation just rounded it all up and made it pretty, and for that, we thank them.

My colleague Alyssa Jackson, our education reporter here at the Dispatch, wrote up a piece recently using the data YorkCounts had aggregated about how many public-school students in the county are eligible for reduced lunches. Here in the city, that's everybody — this past year, York City schools had free breakfast and lunch available for all students. That's up from the 85 percent who got free lunches the previous year.

Alyssa talked to the folks behind putting together the numbers. They said they aren't meaning to put any kind of spin on any of the categories; they just want the data easily findable and readable.

More York County students eligible for free lunch

So here's some stats I cherry picked. Go to the site if you want more; there's a bunch.

  • Sticking with schools, there's the "diversity rate," which YorkCounts defines as the proportion of students from "minority populations." In the city, that's 85.5 percent, up from 73 percent in 2003, which for some reason is the one other year for which the organization aggregated data about this. That's way, way higher than everywhere else in the county. In 2003, the next highest was Central York, with 14.3 percent; now the next highest is West York, with 29.2 percent.
  • More than a third of York Countians are obese. That's up from just under a quarter of the county's population a decade ago. I first heard this stat a while ago when I was writing about the "healthy corner store" initiative; apparently 68 percent of the county is overweight, the city's health bureau told me then.
  • Teen pregnancy continues to drop. For some reason the rate of teen births jumped from about 33 per 1,000 females teens in the county to around 40 per 1,000 from 2005 to 2006, but that rate's dropped every year since. The latest year for which YorkCounts aggregated data for this is 2013, when is was about 24 per 1,000, which is a little higher than the state rate.
  • The city continues to have by far the lowest median home-sales price. In 2014, the latest year for which YorkCounts has data, puts the city at $40,000. That's three times lower than West York, the next lowest, at $123,000. A decade ago, York City still had the far-and-away lowest number, but it was higher, at an inflation-adjusted $73,980. Some good news: After home prices tanked post-recession, they're up some. Last year, the number was only $30,649.
  • The city school district has 39.8 percent of students living in poverty. That's actually an improvement since 2004, when the poverty rate for city kids was a 10th of a point higher. York City schools is the only district in the county where the poverty level dropped — it went up slightly in some other districts, and significantly in others: Hanover now is second, with 19.6 percent, almost twice it was in 2004. According to another chart on the site, about 10.8 percent of the county lived in poverty as of 2013, up close to 3 percent from a decade previous.
  • Increasingly fewer cases relating to bias-related incidents are being docketed than was the case a few years ago. Right now the state Human Relations Commission is docketing cases for such incidents at a rate of about 18 per 100,000 people in the county (which YorkCounts calls 18 percent, which is wrong, so keep that in mind.) That's down from a high in 2009 of near 40 cases docketed per 100,000. These cases related toward discrimination being alleged in arenas such as housing and employment.
  • There still exists a significant income gap in York County based on race. White households make close to $75,000 a year, while black ones make just over $50,000 and Hispanic ones make just over $40,000. The numbers for whites have remained pretty stable over the past decade, while the black household income numbers rose steadily for several years leading up to the recession in 2008 and have been volatile since. Hispanic income has trended downward.

— Reach Sean Cotter at or on Twitter at @SPCotterYD. Look for his news reporting about York City daily online and in print, and keep an eye out for a new installment of this blog every week, or have Facebook keep an eye out for you: Like the Developing Story page.