The Making Action Possible Dashboard launched in 2014 with the mission to measurably improve Southern Arizona through data driven collective civic action and education. The MAP was formed through a unique partnership between the University of Arizona, Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, and the Southern Arizona Leadership Council. Subsequently, the Pima Association of Governments and Sun Corridor, Inc. joined the partnership.
The MAP Dashboard fills a resource gap by providing a common collection of research and information upon which to evaluate and measure key socio-economic indicators in our community and to collaborate on shared issues. The MAP has won several local, national and international awards for its demonstrated ability to drive positive community change.
The MAP compares key socio-economic indicators for the Southern Arizona region across a wide range of geographies including the Arizona counties, select western Metropolitan Statistical Areas, states in the west and the United States. Users can learn how Southern Arizona fares for each indicator, how the region compares to similar areas and explore key trends to determine if the region is making progress or falling behind in these key measures.
This information allows Southern Arizonans to determine priorities, shape and pursue effective policies, and seek external funding opportunities. They can also use the data to drive business and organizational decisions, as well as to build collaborative and cross-sector partnerships capable of taking action in our region.
An example of the type of indicators found on the MAP include measures ranging from median household income, to educational attainment, poverty rates, behavioral health and occupational wages. The indicators are organized into six categories: Economy, Education, Health and Social Well-Being, Infrastructure, Quality of Place and Workforce and Demographics. A selection of recent key conclusions found on the MAP are as follows:
The Tucson MSA ranked second among peer western MSAs in housing affordability, which has gradually declined as house prices have risen faster than income. The Tucson MSA includes all of Pima County.
The college attainment rate for the working-age population in the Tucson MSA rose modestly to 30.5 percent in 2017 but remained well below the U.S. rate.
Tucson MSA residents reported worse mental health than most peer metropolitan areas. However, the local area did better in terms of physical health.
Median household income in Tucson continues to trend upward with an 8.0 percent increase between 2016 and 2017.
In addition to the key socio-economic indicators explored on the MAP, feature articles are published monthly on topics relevant to Southern Arizona. Recent articles have included a wide-range of topics including an annual snapshot of key measures at the city and town level for the Southern Arizona region; the driving patterns of Tucsonans compared to other urban areas around the west; and if Tucson’s home prices are booming again. Further, the MAP Dashboard publishes white papers written by University of Arizona faculty in their area of expertise. Recent white papers include Farm-to-School Programs in Southern Arizona: A Case Study on the Economics of Local Foods; Rainwater as a Potential Resource for Water Independence in Tucson’s Communities, and the Health and Social Well-Being in Chronically Homeless Women. Previous white papers included topics such as food access in Southern Arizona; poverty; economic impacts of extreme weather; child care and early education; and the relationship between crime and alcohol-serving establishments.
Recently a new feature that highlights how various organizations in Southern Arizona use the MAP to make informed decisions was included on the website. These stories provide insights on how to get the most out of the MAP, and will hopefully inspire others to use the site in new and creative ways. The types of organizations that are included vary from your fellow business leader, to non-profits, elected officials and engaged community members.
If you or your business or organization use the MAP Dashboard and would like to be featured, we’d love to hear from you.
Visit the MAP to view recent community spotlights on the Regional Partnering Center, Thomas R. Brown Family Foundation, and Tucson Values Teachers.
The MAP website has continued to see strong growth in visitors and page views with the number of annual users increasing by almost 50 percent between 2017 and 2018. The MAP sends out a monthly newsletter to keep its users informed on recent data updates, feature articles and upcoming events. If you have not already signed up we encourage you to do so. To sign up visit mapazdashboard.arizona.edu and fill in the subscribe box at the bottom of the homepage. The MAP also has a strong social media presence and posts daily on Twitter.
Local community support makes the MAP Dashboard possible. Funding partners include the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, Pima Association of Governments, the Southern Arizona Leadership Council, Sun Corridor, Inc. and the University of Arizona. The UA’s Economic and Business Research Center maintains, updates and administers the MAP Dashboard website.
Financial support is also provided by community sponsors. Sustaining sponsors include the Thomas R. Brown Family Foundation, Tucson Electric Power and Freeport McMoRan. Wells Fargo is a supporting sponsor and Sundt Construction and Visit Tucson are contributing sponsors.
Jennifer L. Pullen is a Research Economist and MAP Program Coordinator at the Economic and Business Research Center, Eller College of Management, University of Arizona.