04.18.10

EBR Quality of Life Report Released

Indicators show distress and transition in parish; people eager for progress 
More people rode the bus daily and didn’t have enough money sometime in 2009 to feed themselves. The percentage of people connected to the Internet declined, and the incidents of child abuse increased. All those indicators appear to show that economic troubles are undermining the quality of life in East Baton Rouge.

The Baton Rouge Area Foundation compiled the indicators in its second annual report on the quality of life in the parish. More than 60 indicators are designed to show where we are as a parish, how far we’ve come and where we need to go.  The indicators – and the full report – are at BRCityStats.org.

Some findings in the report:
  • Baton Rouge’s unemployment rate spiked in 2009 and East Baton Rouge lost jobs the year before, ending at least five years of job growth.
  • After a spike caused by Katrina, people began to leave the parish again for other areas.
  • Enrollment at private schools is declining, while the Zachary school system is growing rapidly.
  • Nearly half of Baton Rouge residents in the survey said the city has a considerable litter problem.
  • One-fourth of respondents to the CityStats survey said they were victim of a crime in last 12 months.
  • Nearly half the residents in our survey say they have little or no influence over political leaders.
  • The airport is in decline, with total passenger traffic nearly dropping back to 2004 levels.
  • The number of library books circulated has declined for five consecutive years, while the number of digital downloads have soared.
  • A bright spot: 56% of residents believe the pace of progress in Baton Rouge is too slow, an indication they want the parish to be better.
The Foundation and its fund donors use the indicators to guide millions in nonprofit grants, including nearly $13 million in 2009. We encourage other organizations to use the indicators to focus their efforts to build a better East Baton Rouge.

About the Foundation: The Baton Rouge Area Foundation makes the world better in two ways. We connect fund donors – philanthropists – to worthwhile projects and nonprofits. With them, we have granted $232 million over 46 years to give people a chance to prosper. We also take on projects that change the direction of the Baton Rouge region, such as revitalizing downtown, spearheading the building of the Shaw Center for the Arts, supporting innovations in public schools and reclaiming inner-city neighborhoods.
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