SAVI has written 65 posts for SAVI Information for Communities Blog

[Infographic] Women’s History Month

Womens History


A Look at Family and Child Well-Being in Central Indiana

The Annie E. Casey Foundation recently released the 2013 KIDS COUNT data book, an annual report that provides national and state-by-state information about the well-being of children, youth, and their families.

The new data show an overall improvement in Indiana’s children’s health, but it is clear from the report that the state is still struggling with high rates of child poverty.


Compared to other states, Indiana ranks 26th in economic well-being, 34th in education, 21st in health (up 13 spots since last year), and 30th in family and community. 2013 ranking shows a 20 percent decrease in the rate of child and teen deaths from 2005 to 2010, and also a drop by four percent in the percentage of babies born with a low birthweight during the same years.

Here are just a few statistics that highlight areas in Central Indiana with either considerable improvement or significant decline. 

  • In Marion County, 32.2 % of kids live in poverty.
  • The average number of people in Marion County who receive food stamps increased by 37% between 2009 and 2012.
  • The number of families receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) dropped by 52% in Marion County from 2009 to 2012.
  • Teen birth rate dropped by 38% in Hendricks County between 2008-2011.
  • Number of child physical abuse cases substantiated by Department of Child Services declined in Hendricks County by 84% from 2009 to 2012.
  • Hancock County saw significant improvement in teen birth rate between 2008 and 2011. The rate per 1,000 females dropped by 23%.
  • Teen birth rate per 1,000 females dropped by 23% in Hancock County from 2008 to 2011.
  • Around 18% of mothers in Johnson County reported smoking during pregnancy. This is significantly higher than numbers reported for other Central Indiana counties.
  • In Hamilton County, juvenile delinquency case filings decreased by 53% from 2009 to 2012.

These are just a few of the many (good and bad) statistics reported in the 2013 Data Book. To learn more about how your county stacks up, read the full report here.

Infographic: Black History Month


One month into 2014…have you kept your resolution?

By Michelle Jones, GIS Analyst, The Polis Center

We’re one month into the New Year. Have you kept your resolution(s)? If not, you’re not alone. 36% of people give up on their resolutions by February, and only 8% go on to successfully fulfill their resolutions.

Let’s take a look at four of the most commonly made (and broken) resolutions of 2014.

  • #4 – Enjoy Life to the Fullest
  • #3 – Spend less, Save More
  • #2 – Get Organized
  • #1 – Lose Weight

Was your resolution to lose weight in 2014? The percentage of adults reporting a BMI greater than or equal to 30 (classifying them as obese) ranges from 22 to 37 percent for Indiana counties, while Indiana’s overall rate is 31%. The national benchmark is 25%. Find the percentage for your county in the map below.

Source: County Health Rankings

Source: County Health Rankings

All of the general New Year resolution statics obtained for this blog were collected from:

A few facts you may not have known about the Super Bowl

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Are we losing our best and brightest to other states?

By Jay Colbert, GIS Project Manager, The Polis Center at IUPUI

Opinions abound on the issue of “Brain Drain” in Indiana and elsewhere. Brain Drain is the term given when college graduates move out of state taking their knowledge and skills with them. What drives it, what can be done about it, and how do we compare to other peer cities in educational attainment?

Let’s go to the numbers and see what we can learn.

Let’s start at the beginning – when students first attend college. Similar to other large universities, Indiana attracts many out-of-state college students. According to a Washington Post blog, in 2008 Indiana attracted 13,386 out-of-state students while 4,802 students left the state for college resulting in a net gain of 8,584. A “brain gain” indeed that ranks second of all states in the nation. Sounds like we get started on the right foot.

Things then flip after graduation when 50% of students leave Indiana to find work. There are many reasons why graduates might leave the state—more job opportunities elsewhere, the young adults may be pursuing a different culture found in only big and coastal cities—and we see many of them hail from out-of-state to begin with so maybe they just return home to pursue work.

And the higher the level of education obtained, the higher the probability that students will leave Indiana. Check out this interactive map showing Indiana brain drain by county. Another interactive map from the U.S. Census Bureau shows migration patterns by county for the whole nation. Just pick a county and see where people are going to and coming from. Would you have guessed that Marion County gains a net 512 people per year from Los Angeles County, California?

What is being done about Indiana brain drain? Lilly Endowment announced in December of 2013 a pledge of 63 million dollars to fight Indiana brain drain. The money will go to Indiana universities to expand career development programs, such as internships, but that alone will not keep graduates here if the right job opportunities do not exist.

And not everyone believes Indiana brain drain is a real problem. Check out this article from the Indiana Business Journal suggesting that Indiana has a relatively high rate of graduate retention.

In any case, how does Marion County stack up against Midwestern peer cities in educational attainment and top industries? Unfortunately we rank near the bottom in educational attainment. Columbus, Ohio and Nashville, Tennessee stand out with the highest rates of population with a bachelor degree or higher, with Indianapolis lagging behind.


And it’s easy to believe that education levels will have something to do with what industries predominate. This table shows top industries for our peer counties. They all have a top industry of Education/Health Care, but those with higher educational attainment seem to be more likely to result in more jobs in professional, scientific, and management sectors.

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Clearly the picture is less than crystal clear on Indiana brain drain. Do some thinking on your own and let us know your thoughts and opinions.

Best of 2013

The SAVI team wishes you all a very Happy New Year!

2013 was a busy year for all of us at SAVI. As 2014 launches, we wanted to take a moment to look back and celebrate a few highlights. From unleashing new trends in poverty in Indiana to sharing insightful tips on strategic planning for nonprofits, here are a few of our proudest moments!


Thanks to the engagement of our SAVI community, our blog gained a significant momentum in 2013. We looked at comments and total number of views and social shares, and chose our most popular posts of the year. Take a look!

#3 Indy’s Mass Transit Bill: Debated with Data

In our third most popular blog, Jay Colbert shared data to help readers reach informed opinions regarding development of a regional transit system in Central Indiana.

#2 Good Planning + Good Data = Positive Community Impact

We all want to have a positive impact on our community. In this blog, Sharon Kandris describes how good planning and good data lead to successful program planning.

#1 Addressing Hunger in Central Indiana: Gaps and Opportunities

The number one blog of 2013 was Sharon Kandris’s informative report on the state of hunger in Central Indiana and what we can do to address it.

Trends in Poverty Report 

poverty reportI out of 5 people in Marion County are in poverty. Our Trends in Poverty report explored the 2012 poverty data to examine the disparities that exist in Marion county by age, race, gender, education levels, and neighborhoods – and how that has changed since 2000. This report gained lots of local attention. You can access the report here.

WTHR Coverage
WISH-TV’s Report

2013 Governor’s Conference on Service and Nonprofit Capacity Building

More than 200 people attended last year’s conference that was focused on building capacity of nonprofits in six core areas: Funding, Communications, Collaboration, Volunteerism, Strategic planning, and Governance. This year, we added a second day to feature the first statewide Human Needs Summit, a working session in which participants collaborated to share insights and discuss gaps and opportunities in education, health, hunger, and housing.

Logo Governors Conference (open text)

Save the date! The 2014 conference will be held at the IUPUI Campus Center on Oct. 1 and 2. We look forward to seeing you there!

What can SAVI can do for you? Whether you’re interested in a demonstration, hands-on training, or courses toward SAVI certification, we’re here to help!

Social Media Data Can Guide a Nonprofit’s Content Strategy

By Deeksha Kapoor, PR & Social Media Coordinator, The Polis Center at IUPUI

This year, social media astonished us yet again with its sheer power and unbelievable reach. While there are many nonprofits that achieved tremendous success on social media this year, there are several others who are still struggling to get it right. We all know that it is a huge challenge for nonprofits with shrinking budgets and employees with multiple roles and responsibilities, to create an engaged community of online supporters, advocates, donors, and funders. Thus, it is more important than ever to make data-informed decisions so that we are effective at what we do, and social media is no exception.

There is a wealth of social media data that is available to us at our fingertips, that can guide us and equip us with information needed to develop powerful strategies.  There are countless number of social media tools available out there that not only gather data about user activity, demographics, engagement etc. but also offer different ways to analyze, measure, present, and create reports about your social media engagement efforts (e.g. increased number of donations, increased traffic to your website leading to brand awareness etc.). While some of these tools like Facebook Insights, BackTweets etc. are free, there are others like SproutSocial, Sysomos etc. that are quite inexpensive.

Here are some ways social media data can guide your content strategy:

Big Question: WHAT TO POST?

Here’s how data can help: As social media managers, we have to consistently create compelling content for our pages in order to deliver the desired result and move the needle. Thus, it is important to continuously evaluate:

–        How does our content perform on social media

–        What type of content leads to maximum engagement

Facebook Insights provides ample data that sheds light on ‘engagement’ of the community and ‘reach’ of our message. Using this free tool, one can identify, for example, if posting links as status updates leads to increased reach as opposed to sharing photos. This information can help you design content that your audience is more likely to respond to.


Similarly for Twitter, tools like HootSuite and Bitly offer other interesting insights such as:

–        the number of retweets and/or mentions your tweet received

–        the unique click-through rate of the link you shared in your tweet

You can further analyze this data to learn:

–        what type of content receives more retweets

–        which keywords in your tweet drive traffic back to your website

–        which social media users (or accounts) frequently share your content



Here’s how data can help: Within the web version of Facebook Insights tool, the ‘People’ tab includes the following demographic information about your Facebook audience:

–        Age

–        Gender

–        Country

–        City

–        Language


As any marketing professional would agree, this is a lot of data that can serve as the basis for all targeted marketing and messaging.  For example, you can target Facebook ads or a direct mail piece in selected zip codes of the the city where most of your audience resides based on this data.


Here’s how data can help: To find the optimum hours to share updates on your Facebook page, pull up the “When Fans Are Online” tab under the ‘Posts’ tab in Facebook Insights. This data is adjusted to your local time zone and helps you schedule posts during the time when most of your audience is active on Facebook.


Another useful tool for Twitter is Tweriod that gathers data about recent tweets of your followers and provides you data that shows when your followers are most active. Tweriod also summarizes the best hours of the day for you to reach your tweeps and delivers this report via email to your inbox. Simple!

This is just a broad introduction of how social media data can inform your content strategy. There are several powerful tools available on the internet that can help you with your data mining, but you need to take the time to uncover the vast pool of information and frequently analyze it to help you make sound decisions.

Central Indiana Standardized Test Scores: An Infographic

By Laura Danielson, Communications Manager, The Polis Center at IUPUI

View high-resolution infographic HERE.

Central Indiana ISTEP Trends

What’s the dominant minority population in your neighborhood?

By Laura Danielson, Communications Manager, The Polis Center at IUPUI

The 18th annual Spirit & Place Festival, a long-time project of The Polis Center, explored the 2013 theme of Risk through 30 community programs that toed the line between safety and danger, ease and discomfort, and security and uncertainty. For example, the opening event, $20K: A Competition about Race, featured four innovators who presented their daring ideas for reshaping the notions of race in Central Indiana. Find out who won the $20,000 prize here.

As the Spirit & Place team prepared for the big event, we had to wonder: what does the demographic breakdown look like in Central Indiana? We know that, overall, the majority race in Central Indiana is Caucasian. And it’s fairly common to see demographic data mapped to highlight which race is dominant in a particular geography, e.g. a block group. But we wanted to visualize the data a little differently. So instead of mapping the dominant race by block group, we mapped the second most dominant race…or in other words…the most dominant minority.

Here’s what it looks like.

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To further clarify, I’ll give a specific example. The red areas of the map show that in this area, just north of downtown Indianapolis, Caucasian is not the majority race; it is the second most dominant race, or the largest minority group.


Here’s another interesting pattern that emerged. Note the pockets of Asian population in the south central part of Marion County.  While Caucasian is still the majority race here, the second most dominant race is Asian, a trend likely caused by the recent growing Burmese refugee population that has settled in Perry Township.


What other trends or patterns do you notice? We’d love to hear your thoughts!


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