Sunday, January 30, 2011

Annual Quality of Life report tells a sad story in Jacksonville

Finances: Wages down, food stamps up

$1,055: The inflation-adjusted decrease in average annual wages for people employed in Duval County from 2006 to 2009. During that same time period, the county lost more than 34,000 jobs. The number of food stamp recipients doubled.

Environment: Water usage, septic tank permits down

181 gallons: The average amount of water used in a day by a resident in 2009, down from 221 gallons per day in 2005. Meanwhile, new permits for septic tanks, which can be harmful to the environment, were at a 26-year low.

Government: Influence over government decisions down

24 percent: The percentage of Jacksonville residents who say they have great or moderate influence over decision-making in the local government, a substantial decrease over the past four years. Meanwhile, minorities (19 percent) and women (21 percent) among elected officials sank to a 10-year low.

Charities: Giving down, volunteering up

$2.8 million: The amount of loss in charitable giving to federated campaigns such as United Way. The total fell to $25.5 million in 2009 from an inflation-adjusted $28.4 million in 2007. However, 65 percent of people reported volunteering, a small increase from the past two years.

Homelessness: Number of homeless up

3,910: The number of homeless people counted in 2010 in Duval County, up from 2,613 in 2007. Families with children have especially been affected. The economic recession has plunged more than 1,000 additional people locally into homelessness.

Economic engines: Bed tax revenue down, port rebounds

$25 million: The decline in sales and bed tax collections from 2008 to 2010, indicating a decline in tourism. However, there was a rebound at the Port of Jacksonville, where last year marine terminals handled 8.1 million tons shipped in or out.

Recreation, arts and culture: Museum attendance, public performances down

14.3 percent: The percent of decline of public and private support for arts programs from 2007 to 2009. The total number of public performances was down to 436, from a 2006 high of 601, and museum attendance was also at a five-year low.

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