Research

Interviews

Your Policy Analysis Paper requires you to interview two individuals from the community, a client (a recipient of services) and/or a stakeholder (a service provider, non-profit or government official, or community leader). Below is a link to contacts that the CCE and I have in the Highland Park neighborhood, the Northside, or the large anti-poverty advocacy community in Richmond. You may use this list for your interviews, or draw upon your own contacts.

Click here to link to the list. Please note that the list page is password protected.

Maps

Because so many of our sources disaggregate data and compare communities by various governing districts, below is a list of maps that will help you define the boundaries of the area you are working with: ZIP code, Census tract, neighborhood, locality, or planning district.  For those of you interested in spatial isolation, I’ve also included a map of public transportation.

Map of Richmond’s Neighborhoods — Throughout the semester, we’ll refer to the historic neighborhoods of Richmond.  If you are not a native, you’ll find this map of the city’s four planning districts (West End, East End, Northside, and Southside) and their various neighborhoods useful (on pg. 3).

Description of Neighborhoods and Districts in Richmond — This resource gives a general description of the main historic neighborhoods in Richmond, including Highland Park.

Map of City of Richmond 2010 Census Tracts with Street Names — Use this map when working with Census data and Census web interfaces, such as Social Explorer.  You’ll see that Highland Park falls primarily within the boundaries of tract #108, #109, and #110.  To orient you, the Six-Point Star that marks the retail center of Highland Park is at the boundary of tracts #108 and #109.  The YLF (Delmont is in the county) and North Richmond Outreach, Boaz & Ruth, its thrift store, and the Firehouse are in #108.  Overby-Sheppard Elementary School is on the edge of tracts #109 and #110.  While OSB is in tract #109, Highland Grove across the street (former site of the Dove Court housing projects) is in #110.  Rubicon and the Daily Planet are in #109.  Ann Hardy Park, where the QoL meets, is in #110.  Henderson Middle School and John Marshall High School, though they serve neighborhood children, are not in Highland Park and instead are located in tract #103.  PFFN is in tract #111.  The University of Richmond, by comparison, is within tract #505.

Metro Area Richmond ZIP Code Map — City-data aggregates statistics by ZIP codes, which are larger areas than Census tracts.  Highland Park — and much of the eastern part of the Northside — falls within ZIP code 23222.

Map of Henrico County 2010 Census Tracts with Street Names — If you are interested in comparing Henrico County with Richmond using Census indicators, this map of Census tracts within Henrico County will prove useful.

Map of Chesterfield County 2010 Census Tracts with Street Names — This map features Census tracts within Chesterfield County so that you may compare the suburbs in Chesterfield with the city using Census data.

Map of GRTC Routes — For city residents without cars, the bus is a necessity for getting from home to work.  Here you’ll find a map of GRTC bus routes.

Highland Park

For those of you who are not familiar with the Highland Park neighborhood, the resources below provide some history as well as descriptions of the neighborhood and its major challenges.  If you would like to follow current events in Highland Park, I highly recommend Style Weekly and the North Richmond News, accessible through links in the sidebar.

North Richmond News, “The Chestnut Hill/Plateau Historic District” (August 2009) — This article, done by the community newspaper for the Northside, provides a detailed history of the Highland Park, Southern Tip.

North Richmond News, “The Highland Park Plaza Historic District” (August 2009) — This article, done by the community newspaper for the Northside, provides a detailed history of North Highland Park.

Highland Park Southern Tip Revitalization Plan (1995) — Though a bit dated, this report by the City of Richmond’s Planning and Development Review gives a detailed overview of the major challenges the southern part of Highland Park faces with respect to economic redevelopment, including areas of blight and crime.  Of particular interest are the Introduction and Neighborhood Profile and the chapters on Land Use Characteristics and Housing and Neighborhood Needs Assessment Summary.

City of Richmond, Department of Economic and Community Development (2011) — This report on housing in the City of Richmond reveals that Highland Park has been particularly hard hit by the housing downturn.

Neighborhoods in Bloom — This site explains the Neighborhoods in Bloom program.  Click here for the Federal Reserve of Richmond’s evaluations of the NiB program.

Richmond, Virginia

One cannot understand Highland Park without a broader understanding of how the neighborhood fits into the politics and economics of the larger city and metropolitan region in which it is situated. Below are links to information about Richmond. Sources of primary data are listed first, and many of these sites offer web interfaces that allow you to map data or they format requested data in tables and graphs. Indexes of scholarly and non-scholarly studies follow.  There are also links to government reports on Richmond.

Social Explorer — This site is a web-based interface that allows you to map Census data on a range of social indicators by state, locality, and even as detailed as the Census block and Census tract.

PolicyMap — This site is a web-based interface, much like Social Explorer, but it draws from a wider base of government data.  Beyond the Census and the American Community Survey, you will also be able to map variables pertaining to health, income, labor, education, and so forth.

City-Data.com – This site pulls together data, statistics, and facts on cities, and the people living in them, in an easy to understand format.  Data can be disaggregated by ZIP code, and neighborhood statistics can be compared to state- or city-wide statistics.  You can look not only at Census data but also interest graphs and information about major industries by community.  Scroll up to the find the map of ZIP codes.

Diversity Data, Harvard University, Richmond Profile — Using Census and other government data, this site creates custom profiles of metropolitan regions that display differences across racial categories on measures such as housing opportunities, educational levels, economic opportunities, racial integration of neighborhoods, and much, much more.  This link will take you to the profile for the Richmond metro region, but you can backtrack to create a profile of your home community for comparison.

The Measure of America — This interactive site can map or chart data on a variety of social, economic, and political data.  There are a lot of indicators for states and the ten largest metro areas in the U.S.  Unfortunately, though, the most refined geographic area is the congressional district, but for these, the site will create a “human development index” (measuring wellbeing and opportunity) and rank the district against all other districts in the country.

U.S. Census of Population and Housing – The Census Bureau has digitized all of the Censuses (from 1790 – 2000). Here you can see how Richmond has evolved as a city.  Please note that Census information is incredibly useful, rich, and authoritative; however, it is NOT easy to use. Don’t hesitate to contact Laura Horne-Popp, the Political Science Librarian, and she can help you find what you need.

Statistical Abstract of the United States – This is the definitive resource that consolidates the huge variety of statistics gathered by the federal government, covering 1878-2009.

City of Richmond Planning and Development Review, 2000 Census Reports — Income, poverty, housing, race, employment, educational attainment, population, including reports on individual Census tracts.

UR Libraries Catalog – We have thousands of books covering the rich and varied history of the city. There are also several specific histories on African Americans in Richmond, Virginia.

Employment and Family Life

The resources that follow allow you to explore employment and family life. Data sites allow you to call up statistics pertaining to jobs and the well-being of families, including demographics, poverty rates, housing values, employment rates, rates of single parenthood, levels of educational attainment, types of industries in the area, and more.  I highly recommend Social Explorer, which maps Census data and can be used to create maps for your community profiles.  Sites with primary data are listed first followed by government reports and databases of scholarly books and articles.

Social Explorer — This site is a web-based interface that allows you to map Census data on a range of social indicators by state, locality, and even as detailed as the Census block and Census tract.

PolicyMap — This site is a web-based interface, much like Social Explorer, but it draws from a wider base of government data.  Beyond the Census and the American Community Survey, you will also be able to map variables pertaining to health, income, labor, education, and so forth.

City-Data.com – This site pulls together data, statistics, and facts on cities, and the people living in them, in an easy to understand format.  Data can be disaggregated by ZIP code, and neighborhood statistics can be compared to state- or city-wide statistics.  You can look not only at Census data but also interest graphs and information about major industries by community.

Kids Count Data Center — A site put together by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Kids Count includes a variety of indicators that track demographics, education, economic well-being, family and community well-being, health, safety, and more.  This link will take you to Virginia and community-level data.  To see data for Richmond, click on the button that says “Community-Level Profiles” and search for Richmond City under “Counties” not “Cities” (counterintuitive, I know).

Richmond, VA – Economy at a Glance – This resource provides employment and unemployment information for the city from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. There are also links to information on wages, hours worked, and the cost of living in Richmond.

Consumer Income Reports (1947-current) – Government reports on poverty in the U.S., child support, income trends, and more.

Social Science Full Text – This index contains scholarly research on the cultural, social, and political behaviors of people. It also has studies about single-mother trends in African American Families, motivations of crime, the effects on children of family structure, and so forth.

UR Libraries Catalog – We have many scholarly books covering family life, psychological affects of family structure, social values, attitudes towards work, and more.

Crime and Incarceration

Below are resources that allow you to examine trends related to crime.  Listed first are several interactive websites that allow you to view the number, type, and location of various crimes and criminal offenders.  Other sites provide statistics related to crime, violence, juvenile justice, guns, and public safety by locality.  Listed last are databases of scholarly studies pertinent to crime. 

PolicyMap — This site is a web-based interface, much like Social Explorer, but it draws from a wider base of government data.  Beyond the Census and the American Community Survey, you will also be able to map variables pertaining to health, income, labor, education, and so forth.

SpotCrime — This website allows you to plot crime incidents around the city.  Customize your map by type of crime and time period.

Richmond Times-Dispatch Data-Center Crime Stats — An overview of crime statistics for cities and counties in the Commonwealth.

Richmond Times-Dispatch Data-Center Homicide Report — Map and research homicides in Richmond and Central Virginia by searching the Homicide Report database and archive. Search for murders that occurred from January 2007 to the present.

Richmond Times-Dispatch Data-Center Robberies Report — View time, date, and location of reported robberies in the metropolitan area.

FBI Uniform Crime Reports (from the RTD Data-Center) — View the monthly counts of crimes in any city — including violent crime offenses (murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault), and property crime offenses (burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson).

FBI Hate Crime Reports (from the RTD Data-Center) — View a database that compiles the latest figures on bias-motivated crimes in the FBI’s 2009 Hate Crime Statistics report.

Protective Order Reports (from the RTD Data-Center) — The Virginia General Assembly in 2011 passed a law allowing greater access to protective orders from Virginia courts. Since the law went into effect on July 1, the number of emergency protective orders and full protective orders has skyrocketed. This database allows you to search for the number of protective orders issued by individual local courts or by multiple court districts.

Gun Sales (from the RTD Data-Center) — View statistics on gun sales throughout the commonwealth.

rban Institute, Prisoner Re-Entry Study — Though a bit old, this is a thorough and illuminating study of the impact of offender re-entry on communities.  It focuses on the state of Virginia and includes maps of offender re-entry in Richmond that can’t be found elsewhere — e.g., the relationship of poverty and unemployment, on the one hand, and re-entry, on the other.

Sentencing Project, Interactive State Map — View statistics on incarceration and state and federal policies on both incarceration and ex-offenders.  There is also an interactive state map that has statistics for particular states on the jail and prison population, racial disparities, and incarceration expenditures, plus more.

Commonwealth of Virginia, Sex Offender Registry — This state site plots the location of registered sex offenders and provides information on their offenses.

Map of Crime and Liquor Outlet Locations by Census Tract, 2004 — Click on this link to download a map of crime and liquor establishments around the city.  The data is a bit dated, so use to compare neighborhoods rather than for absolute numbers of crime and liquor establishments within neighborhoods.

Crime in Virginia – This is an annual report on crime in Virginia, including information on crime in Richmond. It provides information on types of crime, characteristics of crime victims and offenders, number of police, and arrest totals.

Crime Incident Information – Richmond Police Department – This site collects statistics on crime by type, neighborhood, Census tract, and housing type.

Kids Count Data Center — A site put together by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Kids Count includes a variety of indicators that track demographics, education, economic well-being, family and community well-being, health, safety, and more.  This link will take you to Virginia and community-level data.  To see data for Richmond, click on the button that says “Community-Level Profiles” and search for Richmond City under “Counties” not “Cities” (counterintuitive, I know).

Social Science Full Text – This database contains scholarly research on the cultural, social, and political behaviors of people. This resource has studies about crime, effects of crime on individuals and the community, effects of having a criminal record, and more.

PsycINFO – This searchable database provides scholarly research on the psychological effects of crime on victims and offenders, studies in treatment of offenders and treatment of victims.

Schools and Academic Achievement

There are numerous first-rate informational websites related to education; these are just a few that I have found particularly helpful.  If you are looking for data on general educational levels of a community, I recommend starting first with Social Explorer or Kids Count.  If you want to know about academic achievement in particular localities (districts) or schools, then you should consult either the Richmond-Times Data Center or the Virginia Department of Education Report Card.  The Report Card is more complete (and includes statistics on teacher qualifications and behavioral problems) that you can’t find with the RTD, but the RTD is more user-friendly.  It’s best used for SOL scores and graduation and dropout rates.  The National Center for Education Statistics is also a very rich source, but it is a lot and can be intimidating to search for a novice.  Let me know, and I will help you.  Government overviews of policy and indexes of scholarly journals specializing in education issues round out this section. 

Interactive Map of Richmond, Henrico, and Chesterfield School Districts with Schools — The frame is small and has annoying ads, but the map pinpoints each school.  You can zoom in on the map if needed.

Map of the Richmond Public School District — When you scroll over the district, to the right, you will see the names of the public schools in that area. Elementary school zones, middle school zoneshigh school zones, and the location of charter, magnet, and specialty schools.

Map of the Henrico County School District — Colored map of Henrico County with the location of schools noted by managerial district.

Social Explorer — This site is a web-based interface that allows you to map Census data on a range of social indicators by state, locality, and even as detailed as the Census block and Census tract.

PolicyMap — This site is a web-based interface, much like Social Explorer, but it draws from a wider base of government data.  Beyond the Census and the American Community Survey, you will also be able to map variables pertaining to health, income, labor, education, and so forth.

Kids Count Data Center — A site put together by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Kids Count includes a variety of indicators that track demographics, education, economic well-being, family and community well-being, health, safety, and more.  This link will take you to Virginia and community-level data.  To see data for Richmond, click on the button that says “Community-Level Profiles” and search for Richmond City under “Counties” not “Cities” (counterintuitive, I know).

Education Nation Scorecard for Schools — Sponsored by NBC and Great Schools, this site allows you to look up testing and achievement information about specific schools, school districts, and states.  Even better, it will show you how rigorous state standards are relative to other states in the nation.

Richmond-Times Dispatch Data Center, 2012 Virginia Public School Test Scores — From this site, you can view the AYP and accreditation status and poverty status of any school in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Richmond-Times Dispatch Data Center, 2011 Virginia Graduation and Dropout Rates — From this site, you can view the graduation and dropout rates of any school in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  The 2010 rates can be found here.

Virginia School Report Card — See the report card for any school or district in the commonwealth.  You can see test scores on subjects, behavioral infractions, compliance with No Child requirements that teachers be “highly qualified,” and compliance with test score targets.

Richmond-Times Dispatch Data Center, School Funding — From this site, you can search by locality to see the figures for state aid given to local schools.

Virginia Education Statistics – This site houses information on student characteristics, annual reports by principals, and the Virginia School Report Card report.

National Center for Education Statistics – A site maintained by the U.S. Department of Education that provides education statistics and reports on national, state, and local level trends.

Standards of Learning for Virginia Public Schools – This site offers an in-depth description of the standards by areas of study and by grade used in the state of Virginia. To see what testing benchmarks schools must meet in order to be deemed in compliant with state and federal law and therefore remain accredited, see the accountability rules for the Virginia Department of Education.

No Child Left Behind policy overview – This resource provides information on NCLB, states’ implementation of the policy, and the budget of the U.S. Department of Education.

Social Science Full Text – This database contains scholarly research on the cultural, social, and political behaviors of people. It also has studies about education policies and effects of education standards on children, families, and teachers.

ERIC – This is the authoritative database of scholarly studies covering the field of education, including research on education practice on students and teachers, descriptions of teaching methods, and analysis of education policies.

Public Health and the Urban Environment

With respect to community health, there is both a lot and a little — Lots of sites but scattered in various places, sometimes not very user-friendly, making it difficult to find specifically what you are looking for. But if you have questions or a specific need, I am happy to help. Below are some of the more useful sites.  Primary neighborhood-level data on health is hard to come by, so I recommend starting with the reports prepared by the Richmond City Health District.  Following are a number of sites that allow you to create custom health reports, often aggregated by locality.  Sources for national health statistics and indexes of scholarly studies are listed last. 

PolicyMap — This site is a web-based interface, much like Social Explorer, but it draws from a wider base of government data.  Beyond the Census and the American Community Survey, you will also be able to map variables pertaining to health, income, labor, education, and so forth.

Unnatural Causes, Place Matters, Lesson Plan — This guide has really good ideas for grading the health of a community.  Consult the appendices for a list of data sites (some of which are included on this site) as well as the template for a health report card to grade your community.  Also available is a fairly comprehensive list of government and non-profit reports on issues pertaining to health equity.  Here is a link to the sources on neighborhood effects on health.

Richmond City Health District, Annual Report, Fiscal Year 2013-2014 — The RCHD’s annual reports with information on the city’s infant mortality rates, teenage pregnancy trends and adolescent health, sexually transmitted infections, incidences of lead poisoning, and funding and operations (click on active links for additional data, supplemental to the annual report).  Also reports on health equity for the United States done by the Centers for Disease Control.

America’s Health Rankings — This site compile health data by state to create health rankings on a variety of measures.  Create custom reports by state or see a special report on seniors’ health.

Virginia Health Care Foundation — Data on health insurance status, dental coverage, the Affordable Care Act, and the health care safety net.

The Environmental Protection Agency, Enviromapper — This site plots environmental hazards by ZIP code, place name, or city.

Map of Richmond Area Farmers Markets — This site maps where the regularly held farmers’ markets in the Richmond metro area are located.

Google Maps — Use this tool to plot indicators of health, such as supermarkets, doctor’s offices, or parks.  Enter state and zip code in box at top of page and click on “search maps.  You may then search for services or businesses such as “supermarket,” “library,” “park” or a specific fast food chain by entering the term in the box at the top of the page.

Kids Count Data Center — A site put together by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Kids Count includes a variety of indicators that track demographics, education, economic well-being, family and community well-being, health, safety, and more.  This link will take you to Virginia and community-level data.  To see data for Richmond, click on the button that says “Community-Level Profiles” and search for Richmond City under “Counties” not “Cities” (counterintuitive, I know).

Health Justice Report Card — This site provides indicators by county: infant mortality rates, racial residential segregation measurement, educational attainment rates, income inequality, index of medical service score, uninsured population, percentage of voters, retail liquor outlets, distribution of environmental burdens (populations of color vs. white). Enter county information and view “grade” for each racial group. From grade, click on “To see the data, click here.”

Virginia Health Statistics – This site provides city and county health profiles and health equity reports.  To view and download tables of selected health data, click here.

Virginia Atlas of Community Health — This web interface draws from a variety of sources of health data to plot many different health indicators on a map.  You will need a login account to use this tool.

National Center for Health Statistics – This site collects data and statistics on the health of people in the United States and health care surveys.

Social Science Full Text – This database contains scholarly research on the cultural, social, and political behaviors of people. This resource has studies about levels of health in the U.S. population, research on health care access and policies, and environmental health.

Health and Wellness Resource Center – This site provides news articles and scholarly research on nutrition, fitness, and public health.

Medline – This is a database providing scholarly biomedical research – very medical terminology but provides the output of medical studies.

Header Image: Rowhouses in Oregon Hill, typical of the architecture in Richmond’s early middle-class streetcar suburbs.