Chelan-Douglas Trends Newsletter 2019 Q2



Beth Stipe

Executive Director, Community Foundation of North Central Washington

10-years ago a small group of community leaders gathered to begin a data sharing project around key quality of life indicators. The goal was to be able to provide the data in a new manner that showed trends and gave all citizens the opportunity to use quality data for decisions. Over 300 people eventually participated in selecting the trends and the Chelan Douglas Trends came to be. 10 years later we are still learning and sharing this data and ever expanding knowledge in our region. We see the trends being used in a variety of ways from government to the nonprofit sector. Welcome!



Washington State Statistical Analysis Center Launches New County Dashboard

New Data Shows The Result of Violent Crime?

By Chelan-Douglas Trends Staff

The Washington Statistical Analysis Center (SAC) just launched a new interactive website focusing on crime, poverty, education, and health.

The SAC Mapping Tool website offers 12 different indicators with data available for each county in the state. A few of the indicators are common, such as population, share graduating from high school, household income, unemployment, and poverty.

Other indicators offered are rather unique. These include Adverse Childhood Experiences, as well as hospitalizations resulting from: violent crimes, brawl crimes, firearm crimes, and abuse crimes.

A complete list of definitions for indicators on the SAC Mapping Tool website can be found here.

Click on any county in the state and a pop-up window appears. The first statistic offered is “Hospitalizations from Violent Crimes”. Clicking on the arrows in the top-left corner of the pop-up window allows quick scrolling offering data for each Zip Code (when data is available) in the county. A convenient light blue outline of the Zip Code boundaries appears as you scroll.

The negative impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s) can potentially have a negative impact well into adulthood. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes ACE’s as “all types of abuse, neglect, and other potentially traumatic experiences that occur to people under the age of 18.”

Most often crime statistics simply report the number of crimes occurring in a particular crime category. Crimes Against Persons, Crimes Against Property, and Crimes Against Society are the three main categories (including 52 specific offenses) of crimes tracked by the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS). All law enforcement agencies in Washington State now report NIBRS.

Hospitalizations from any form of violence are avoidable if the violent act never takes place. However, understanding the consequences of violent crime beyond the traditional crime statistics of criminal events known to police. The SAC Mapping Tool website takes crime data to the next level by offering information on hospitalizations as the output of violent crime. 



Men & Women, Money & Work

U.S. Census Bureau Interactive Gallery

By Chelan-Douglas Trends Staff

Based on data, we know the "typical" U.S. male worker earns more than the "typical" U.S. female worker employed in the same occupation. What is typical? What can drilling deeper into a variety of different occupations and educational attainment levels tell us? Looking at the gender income gap occupation by occupation might be very time consuming and tedious. However, data visualizations and dashboards provide the ability to sift through mounds of data quickly.

Men & Women, Money & Work, a feature in the U.S. Census Bureau Interactive Gallery, estimates different annual incomes of full-time, year-round workers, aged 25-years and older based on gender. Further detail includes the gender pay gap by occupation, occupation group, occupation size, education level, and by the share of women in a particular occupation.  

The dashboard offers a variety of detail, such as income differences of women and men based on occupation, occupation group, occupation size, education level, and by the share of women in a particular occupation.

The U.S. Census reports during 2016, overall, women workers earned about 80 cents for every one-dollar men earned employed in the same occupation. While the overall disparity is clear, Men & Women, Money & Work also shows the income disparity exists within nearly all occupation groups.

According to Men & Women, Money & Work, during 2016, the median earnings of women were higher than men in just four occupation groups: roofers (1.2%), mining machine operators (0.8%); telecommunications line installers and repairers (3.7%); first-line supervisors of protective service workers, all other (25.9%). Represented by the low percentages in the parentheses, the share of male workers in each of these four occupation groups dwarfed the share of female workers.  

Yet even female dominated occupations such a registered nurses (87.7%); nurse practitioners (87.9%); secretaries and administrative assistants (94.8%); and elementary and middle school teachers (77.6%), in these fields, women earn roughly 92%, 90%, 83%, and 94%, respectively, of their male counterparts.

Earning a college degree increases employment opportunities, corresponding with higher income potential and better benefit packages. While also opening new career paths, unfortunately, earning a bachelor’s degree increases the income disparity of women to their male counterparts.

According to Men & Women, Money & Work, during 2016, women with a bachelor’s degree earned about 74 cents for every one-dollar earned by men employed in the same occupation.

Men & Women, Money & Work is a great example of how data visualizations can help streamline through mounds of data. Alternatively, if someone would like to drill deeper at a little slower pace, the mounds of data behind this visualization are available as well.  



State Auditor Launches Financial Intelligence Tool (FIT) Website

Providing government financial accountability information

By Chelan-Douglas Trends Staff

The Office of the Washington State Auditor recently launched a new website for government financial accountability information called the Finance Intelligence Tool (FIT).

This data has always been (and still is) available through the Local Government Financial Reporting System (LGFRS), also provided by the Washington State Auditor. FIT presents data from a “snapshot in time” published “periodically” by the auditor’s office. The LGFRS offers the most recent data available in real-time to include late or corrected financial reports but is difficult to use and does not provide benchmarks.

Perhaps the easiest way to navigate through a variety of search options is by using the map. Access the map by clicking on “Find a Government” on the left side of the webpage. Choose an approximate location on the map, and double click. This produces a list of all governments located within a relatively close proximity of the map click (city, local, county, etc.). 

From here, select a government from the results list. The map will first re-center itself to the geographical location of the selected government and offer a “View Profile” button. 

Selecting “View Profile” creates a Government Profile webpage with basic information about the selected government such as mailing address; website link; basis of accounting; and a link to historical financial reports. The Government Profile webpage also includes:

  • annual filing data (revenues, expenditures, and total financial summary).
  • financial health and scorecard in key areas (fund balance sufficiency and sustainability, debt load, current ratio, etc.)
  • share of revenue by source,
  • share of expenditures by department
  • a side-by-side comparison between the selected government and the statewide averages of similar governments and their revenues and expenditures.

The Government Profile webpage for 2017 shows Chelan County had $82.7 million in revenues and $72.2 million in expenditures. Scrolling down the page a bit further we see 70% of total governmental service revenues were from taxes (45%) and charges for goods & services (25%). 68% of total governmental service expenditures were for public safety (46%) and general government (22%).

Douglas County had $68.2 million in revenues and $59.4 million in expenditures. 71% of total governmental service revenues were from taxes (30%) and charges for goods & services (41%). 70% of total governmental service expenditures were for social services (55%) and transportation (15%).

If you are looking for a little more than a basic summary of governmental revenues and expenditures, click on any section of the Government Profile webpage (annual filing data, financial health in key areas, etc.) to find more detail.

For example, the “Annual Filing Data” section offers “Revenues” and “Expenditures” for the selected government, as well as a “Total Financial Summary”.

Select “Revenues” to see a breakdown for seven governmental revenue sources, one of which is “Taxes”. Selecting “Taxes” provides greater detail on revenues from Property Tax; Retail Sales and Use Taxes; Business and Occupation Taxes; Excise Taxes in Lieu of Property Tax; and Other Taxes.

The FIT is easy to use and navigate while also providing easy access to the underlying data. Now, the public can better inform themselves in less time than before.


On-Time High School Graduation Rate Exceeds State Rate

First-time since the 2010-2011 school year

by Scott Richter & Dr. Patrick Jones

Completing high school is arguably one of the most important milestones in a person’s life. Statistically, those with a high school diploma compared to non-completers: will earn more money, are less likely to be unemployed, are more likely to have or afford health insurance, and are less likely to experience incarceration at some point in their lives.

Alternatives, such as a GED, are not sufficient replacements for a high school diploma. In nearly all cases, a high school diploma is the minimum educational attainment required to join the Army (less than 2% of annual enlistees into the Army have a GED).

Beginning during the 2010-2011 school year, Washington State conformed to the U.S. Department of Education methodology, allowing for a direct comparison of high school graduation rates across the nation.

The new methodology, according to Graduation Rate Calculations in Washington State, places all high school students “in a cohort based strictly on their first time entering ninth grade… [and] among a group of students who started high school together, how many graduated in four-years”. Students are assigned an ID number (used for internal statistical purposes and are not identifiable to individual students) so graduation rates are distinguishable at the school level, and can be combined into school district, county, or state graduation rates. The ID number also accounts for students who transfer in or out of other high schools in the state.

Not included in this indicator, are graduation rates for 5th year, 6th year, and 7th year graduates, also calculated by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). The indicator includes data only for public schools.

A look at Indicator 3.1.6: Public High School On-Time Graduation Rate reveals that the most prominent aspect for the combined counties is an on-time graduation rate above the state for the 2017-2018 school year (82.3% and 80.9% respectively). Except for the 2010-2011 and 2017-2018 school years, the districts in the two counties have actually produced a slightly lower on-time rate than the state. So the most recent data from OSPI brings a welcome turn of events. From the low of 72% in school year 2012-2013, the average rate for the two counties has climbed nearly 10 percentage points.

Garn Christensen, Superintendent of Eastmont School District said the main statistical difference from 50-years ago is the graduation rates of minorities and people with disabilities have increased.

Christensen also says to successfully navigate 4-years of high school the most important thing for students is to be connected. He said “being connected” can be anything from participating on a sports team, or being part of a school club or organization within the school.

Digging a little deeper into each geographical location offered, we see that during the 2017-2018 school year, the results between the two counties were each within 0.2 percentage points of the overall average. By school district, there was greater variation, however. The Wenatchee School District (represented as the City of Wenatchee) was 1.9 percentage points above the combined counties rate. This represents a significant achievement, as the district posted only a 67% on-time graduation rate in the 2010-2011 school year. In a short eight years, it upped the rate by 17 percentage points.

Eastmont School District (represented by the City of East Wenatchee) was a mere 0.1 percentage points below the combined counties. However, Eastmont started the indicator series very high, at over 86%, yet has seen the rate slide since then.

There are undoubtedly several forces at work in these diverging trends.

Knowing students can fit anywhere on the introvert – extrovert spectrum, Superintendent Christensen says administration proactively seeks out students who might not have any social connections. Christensen said teachers and administrators at Eastmont High School go through the list of students to see if they can distinguish whether each student is connecting within groups at the school. If they determine a student might not be a part of a group, someone will make contact with the student to check in to see how they are doing. From there, the goal is to help the student find groups they might be interested in joining. Or at the very least, someone (anyone  -- from a teacher, administrator, bus driver, lunch or custodial staff) will keep in contact with the student.

All six of the school districts in Chelan County are included (Cascade, Cashmere, Entiat, Lake Chelan, Manson, and the Wenatchee School District). Four of the six school districts in Douglas County are included (Bridgeport, Eastmont, Mansfield, and the Waterville School District). Since they don’t have high schools, the Orondo and Palisades School Districts are not included.

The 5-year high school graduation rate is also improving, +3.1 percentage points since 2010-2011 for all the districts in the two counties.. 

While a 100% rate is not reasonable or realistic, the increasing high school graduation rate is something everyone can hang his or her hat on.  


Higher Education Enrollment:

Similar To, But Below Benchmarks

by Scott Richter & Dr. Patrick Jones

The decision to attend college almost always includes a cost / benefit analysis, not just financially, but the time commitment too. Learning is arguably the most important aspect of college, but for most, increasing earning potential in the future is probably more of a motivator than learning.

National studies have consistently shown that college enrollment has broad and quantifiable social and economic impacts for the individual and the public. Benefits to the individual include higher salaries and benefits, increased personal and professional mobility, and improved health.

College is expensive too and continues to increase. According to Forbes, during 2018 in the U.S., there were 44.2 million people with student loan debt owing a combined total of $1.52 trillion.

Federal law (20 U.S. Code § 1015a – Transparency in College Tuition For Consumers) requires all public and private higher education institutions to clearly state the cost of attendance to include tuition and fees, room and board, books, supplies, and transportation. Since 2011, federal law has required all institutions to post the cost of attendance on the National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator website (click to visit webpage with full list and accompanying hyperlinks offering detailed information on every higher education institution in Washington State).

The College Board has compiled national annual average cost of attendance data starting with the 1986-1987 academic year. During 2018-2019 using 2018 constant dollar values, the average tuition at a:

  • 2-year public institution was $3,900, increasing from $2,480 since 2000-2001 and from $3,340 since 2010-2011 (+57.3% and +16.8% respectively).
  • 4-year public institution was $9,510, increasing from $4,930 since 2000-2001 and from $8,290 since 2010-2011 (+92.9% and +14.7% respectively).
  • 4-year private institution was $30,890, increasing from $20,080 since 2000-2001 and from $26,780 since 2010-2011 (+53.8% and +15.4% respectively).

With the potential for tens of thousands of dollars in student loans waiting to be paid back starting six-months after graduation, the cost / benefit analysis also includes asking what type of jobs are currently available in my area or in places I would consider moving to instead of enrolling in college? Do they offer benefits such as health insurance and retirement?

Economic conditions can affect college enrollment. In general, when unemployment is high, enrollment in higher education tends to increase. When unemployment is low, enrollment decreases. In recent years, college enrollment increased during the Great Recession and it’s aftermath, but more recently as the number of jobs has increased, college enrollment has decreased.

This indicator, sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey (ACS), counts people enrolled in a “college, university, or professional school (such as law or medicine) degree”. Not counted are those enrolled in “postsecondary vocational, trade, hospital school, and on job training” educational programs.

While vocational, trade, and business schools teach employable skills, the purpose of this indicator is to determine the share of the population enrolled at a traditional 2- or 4-year higher education institutions with the purpose of earning a degree.

For example, enrollees in degree granting programs at Wenatchee Valley College in business, the skilled trades, or health and human services are included in this indicator as these are enrollees in other, traditional 2-year higher education curricular offerings

People enrolled in similar programs (business, skilled trades, health and human services, etc.) at vocational, trade, business, hospital schools or trade schools are not included. Detail of the ACS data (Table S1401) is located on page 123 of the 2017 ACS official subject definitions document.

Looking at Indicator 3.2.4: Share of Residents 18+ Currently Enrolled in Higher Education, we see the combined counties has traditionally lay below the state and U.S. benchmarks. However, the rate for the combined counties (Chelan and Douglas), the state and the U.S. all follow very similar trend lines - each within less than two percentage points of each other for any given year in the series. 

Specifically, during 2017, the share of residents enrolled in higher education was 5.1% in Chelan & Douglas Counties combined, 7.9% in Washington State, and 8.8% in the U.S. Over the course of this series, all locations have reported decreasing shares except for the U.S.

We don’t know, in any rigorous way, why the greater Wenatchee rate is considerably lower than the benchmarks. One likely factor is access, at least in-person access, to a 4-year school is not present in the two counties. Another likely factor lies in the mix of industries, as seen in Indicator 2.3.3. Agricultural production, the largest employing sector, now claims a higher percentage of the local workforce than 10 years ago. To a lesser degree, so does the hospitality sector, the fifth largest. Neither one of these sectors requires much education for its hires.

Another aspect seen in this series is the increased enrollment from 2009-2012 as a response to the higher unemployment rate created by the Great Recession. Indicator 2.3.1: Total Number of Employed Persons & Unemployment Rate , as the unemployment rate goes up and so does college enrollment. As the unemployment rate trends downward, so does college enrollment. For the best comparison, use the Compare tool on the Trends website to look at any two indicators side-by-side to see the interconnectedness of these two indicators.

Not as simple as “one ebbs, the other flows”, this relationship of increased higher education enrollment during periods of higher unemployment is perhaps more like a pendulum counterbalance – in a way preparing the workforce in advance of the next boom.  

It is a natural progression to enroll in higher education to build employable skills when there are few jobs. When the economy improves, the workforce is better prepared to meet the new demands on the workforce of a community, county, state, or the nation, and so are the individuals who earned a college degree.

The decision to enroll in higher education essentially comes down to what individual people want for themselves. Economic conditions, type and availability of jobs, and earning potential change the components of the cost / benefit analysis most prospective college student’s conduct before they make their final decision to the question: college or straight in to the workforce?

Over time, as the greater Wenatchee area attracts more urban refugees, perhaps this measure of life in the two counties will change. But the change will likely be a slow one.


Free and Reduced Price Lunch Enrollment Decreasing:

Showing Signs of Improvement, Albeit Inconsistently

by Brian Kennedy and Dr. Patrick Jones

The average cost difference between a full and reduced price lunch is about $2.50. This may not seem like much, but for some students this could be the difference between going hungry or have proper nutrition for their studies.

The cost for a school lunch in Chelan and Douglas Counties is roughly $3.00 but roughly just 2 out of 5 students are paying that due to the free and reduced price lunch program. Understanding how many students and what share are enrolled provides a good measure for relatively poverty. Indicator 2.6.3: Total and Share of K-12 Students Enrolled in USDA Free & Reduced Price Lunch Program shows how this trend has been slowly improving in recent years.

The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is served in public and private schools throughout the United States. It is a program under the authority of the United States Department of Agriculture but administered at the state level by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). There are over 293 public school districts, private schools, charter schools, and tribal compact schools that were participating in the SNLP in the 2018-2019 school year. According to OSPI, although all students may participate, the income eligibility guidelines for school meals are intended to direct benefits to those children most in need. The guidelines are based on the federal income poverty levels (FPL) and revised annually. Eligibility for free lunches is at 130% or less of the FPL and reduced price eligibility lies between 130 and 185% of the FPL.

To put this in context, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services the federal poverty level for a family of four was $25,100 in 2018. Therefore, the income thresholds for free or reduced price lunches would sit at $33,885 and $46,435 respectively. By comparison, using data from the American Community Survey for the Wenatchee Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), comprised of both Chelan and Douglas Counties, the median household income was $58,990. With qualifying income thresholds encroaching on the overall median household income one might expect a high participation rate in the NSLP, which is exactly what is happening with the trend found Chelan and Douglas Counties.

In the 2018-2019 school year, for the combined counties of Chelan and Douglas, there were 12,082 students enrolled in either the free or reduced price lunch program. A considerable majority do qualify for free lunch, roughly 87%, or 10,550, of the students come from households meeting the 135% of FPL threshold. The remaining 1,532 students are living in households falling between 135% and 185% FPL. With a total student enrollment of 20,630 students, nearly 60% of the entire student body are enrolled in the free and reduced price program across school districts of the two counties.

Despite a 15 percentage point increase since the beginning of the trend, it appears the community is starting to show signs of improvement. After about fifteen years of consistent increases in the share enrolled in the free and reduced price lunch program, the trend peaked in 2013-2014 at 60.2%. Since then the rate has begun to fall, making up five percentage points, until this most recent year where the combined counties saw a share increase of three percentage points. So, while the recent trend is improving the ebbs and flows to this recovery are still very apparent.

So how does that compare to the State, or other Eastern Washington metro areas? Generally, public schools in the Wenatchee MSA have consistently registered a higher share of students enrolled in the free and reduced price lunch program. Since the start of the trend, the local rate has fluctuated between 12 and 16 percentage points higher than that of the state, which sat at 42.3% in 2018-2019.

This isn’t unique to Chelan and Douglas Counties; most Eastern Washington MSAs are underperforming the state average. The Tri-Cities, comprised of Benton and Franklin Counties, are in a similar situation but the gap is widening, as seen on Benton-Franklin Trends Indicator 4.2.10. Starting eight percentage points higher than the state, by 2018-2019 that had nearly doubled to a gap to the Washington average, by fifteen percentage points. Yakima County had the highest enrollment, shown on Yakima Valley Trends Indicator 6.1.8, is sitting at 80.7% in 2018-2019. While places like Walla Walla and Spokane are still showing higher rates than the state, they are not as high as those locally.

As mentioned, this measure doubles as an alternative poverty indicator. Since it is based on the FPL, it shows not only those falling into poverty, but those families living on the cusp. With participation rates in the free and reduced price lunch program continuing to rise one would expect the share of the population living in poverty to be increasing as well.

Indicator 2.6.1: Total and Share of Population Living In Poverty, is similar to how free and reduced price lunch enrollment, poverty peaked in the height of the Great Recession, then began to fall. Despite the data outlier in 2017, largely a result of low sample responses creating larger margins of error, the share of the population fell nearly seven percentage points in five years, even surpassing that of the state by three percentage points. Given that local residents are experiencing poverty rates on par with the state but considerably higher enrollment in free and reduced price lunch program might indicate a larger portion of local residents living just outside the official poverty threshold than in the state.

So, it seems that this measure of income and income distribution in Chelan and Douglas Counties are starting to push in the right direction. Since the Great Recession, enrollment in free and reduced price lunches have started to decline. This path has been markedly slow but one that is consistent across the state. While there is room to improve, that fact that this trend is improving is something to not to be overlooked.



5- Questions with:

Jim Kuntz

Executive Director, Port of Chelan County

Q1: As a business development organization, the Port must follow a set of key metrics. Can you tell us the top five performance measures for the Port?

A1: Are we attracting new private investments?

  • Is the Port helping to facilitate new Jobs?
  • Are the new jobs at a wage level that will support a family?
  • Are we making strategic infrastructure investments that makes the communities we serve attractive to new investments?
  • Are passenger enplanements at the Pangborn Memorial Airport growing?

Q2. Can you briefly describe the strategic plan of the Port, with a focus on the next 12 months?

A2: The Ports of Chelan and Douglas County have agreed to a functional consolidation as of January 1, 2020.  Between now and the end of this year significant staff time will be devoted to standing up the new Regional Port Authority of Chelan Douglas County.  We also do not want to lose our focus on delivering economic development services to all the communities we serve including those in our most rural areas of Chelan and Douglas Counties.

Q3: Are there indicators on the Chelan Douglas Trends website that particularly inform the activities of the Port?

A3: The indicators of most interest to those involved in economic development are, per capita personal income, median household income and total population living in poverty.  We are driven at the Ports to create new jobs that support families.  The above measurements help tell us how we are doing not only in our regional but help us compare ourselves with other Eastern Washington Communities.

Q4: You grew up in Wenatchee and have returned after three decades. I’m sure that you notice changes in this community. Are there any that are referenced in the Trends?

A4: While I always knew that tourism played a role in our economic vitality, it was never precisely measured when I was growing up in Wenatchee.  With the Trends Site this data is now readily accessible.  The trend indicator on direct travel and tourism spending is impressive. Over $575 million spent annually in our region.

Q5: You’re the longest-serving executive among all Washington port districts. Over the time you’ve been in this business, have you witnessed a greater appreciation for data-driven decision making? Can you provide any examples?

A5: The companies we recruit are data driven. That means we need to be data driven. That is the real value of the Chelan Douglas Trends site. Most companies are focused on labor statistics. Does our community have the workforce to support this new business? Our Trends website has six key labor indicators. The income indicators are also very important to new business prospects. While our area may have a low unemployment rate, there is always a segment of underemployed residents. A new prospective company that offers a very competitive wage level with excellent benefits can use a host of indicators on the Trends website to determine the likely labor force available beyond the official unemployment rate.  That is critical information to have in a business siting decision.