Dear friends and colleagues,

Hopefully you fared well through the cold weather, school cancellations, and the flu. The holiday season is still among us and will be here through Mardi Gras. Into 2018 we go!

Here at The Data Center we are soaring into 2018 with new approaches to the data we provide and how we provide it. But before that, we want to recap what we’ve delivered to you in 2017:

  • The Data Center published The Coastal Index 2017 – a deep dive into how Louisiana can leverage billions of dollars in coastal restoration and protection funding to grow a self-sustaining water management cluster capable of powering Southeast Louisiana’s economy for the long-haul. Our coastal and water management content has been viewed and downloaded over 23,000, highlighting the importance of this information to stakeholders, decisionmakers, and the larger community.   
  • At the end of 2016, The Data Center published The New Orleans Youth Index, which provides a statistical snapshot of the well-being of New Orleans youth based on five domains – Health and Well-being, Economic Stability, Learning, Space and Place, and Safety and Justice. In 2017, we complimented this work by partnering with NOCCA to create the Youth Video Series, thus giving youth an opportunity to illustrate what the data means to them.  
  • The Data Center published a series of six infographics to highlight and bring attention to The Coastal Index, inclusive entrepreneurship, and our economic ties across the Super Region. Infographics provide a great way to visually communicate complex data and concepts in a way that is more accessible to the broader public. Our infographic series was accessed over 10,000 times on our website with over 90,000 impressions on social media.  

  • Over 20 percent of the visits to our website are for Katrina-related information. At 60,000 visits annually, this suggests that disaster response, recovery, and resilience is still important to people in our region. Our daily average pageviews can increase by as much as 200 percent when disasters occur across the globe as people use our data to try to understand what the short and long-term effects might be. Our work with population-level data continues to be important to stakeholders and decisionmakers nationally.

  • The Neighborhood Statistical Area Data Profiles is a staple publication that The Data Center updates regularly. With 127 basic demographic and economic data points per neighborhood, Neighborhood Profiles provides information about all 72 New Orleans neighborhoods, making it an extremely useful tool for nonprofits and community leaders. The popularity of this product is evidenced by over 44,000 pageviews in 2017 alone.  
  • The Data Center also updated the widely popular Who Lives in New Orleans and Metro Parishes Now site, which examines the most current demographic data available from the U.S. Census Bureau to identify important trends by parish in the metro area.  
  • Our Neighborhood Change Rates uses data from Valassis Inc. on the households actively receiving mail to track growth in New Orleans over the past year. It is an excellent proxy to show where growth is occurring and, as time passes, the degree to which neighborhoods have recovered since Hurricane Katrina. Our data illustrates that the city is still growing and has recovered 91.7 percent of its population. For years, Neighborhood Change Rates has had over 4,000 pageviews and over 5,000 downloads annually, making it the most downloaded data product that we offer.  
  • Our Monthly USPS Data uses zip code data from the US Postal Service to publish the number of residential addresses actively receiving mail for seven parishes in the greater New Orleans metro on a monthly basis. Data through December 2017 is available on our website. This serves as a useful indicator for the rate of change in occupied housing units, complementing the annual parish-level population estimates from the US Census Bureau (also available on The Data Center website).

Building on success through 2018
As the New Orleans metro area leaves its post-Katrina recovery phase, it has never been more important to examine factors that will determine our future collective prosperity. The success of our New Orleans Index series has paved the way for our next major series, The New Orleans Tricentennial Prosperity Index. With an April 2018 release date, this report uses the city’s tricentennial to look back over New Orleans’s history to identify long standing race-based disparities that hamper our growth and dampen the city’s economic potential.
Our Coastal Index series has always focused on growing a water management economy, but in 2018, we will take a deeper dive to into understanding the complexity and variety of data needs that impact resilience plans for coastal parishes. With this data in hand we will use new dashboarding techniques to democratize information related to the demand drivers for coastal investments.
In 2017, we ventured into the world of social media as a micro-publication tool for our data and research. In that first year we garnered 1.5 million impressions, 8,300 link clicks, and attracted thousands of followers. Using new methods for data visualization, we’ve given our data context and increased its shareability, building the data capacity of the greater New Orleans area. These social media numbers, combined with over a quarter million pageviews on our website and over 110,000 downloads of our content, highlights our impact – we build data products that address our community’s most pressing issues. In late 2018, we intend to leverage technology more to bring you data through a redesigned website with greater findability and data sharing capacity, allowing you to more easily find the data you need.
We learned in 2016. We planned in 2017. We are growing in 2018. Here at The Data Center, we are here for you – our users of data, our transformers of information to knowledge, and our decisionmakers and leaders who provide the wisdom to change. Whether looking back or ahead, we are ever conscious that it is you who bring our data to life. We send heartfelt thanks for all the work you do throughout the year.

Bringing you the data you need to make informed decisions,
The Data Center Team

Rachel Weinstein, Dabne Whitemore, Keisha Smith, Lamar Gardere, Allison Plyer, and Bernardo Espinosa
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