ONE VIEW OF BLOUNT COUNTY…

‘Counties in Crisis’ characterizes quality of life

“Counties in Crisis: Assessing Quality of Life in Alabama” is a scholarly report just released by the Center for Leadership and Public Policy through Alabama State University.

On a county-by-county basis, data in it are compiled on a variety of indicators that fall under four major quality-of-life categories: economy, healthcare, public safety, and education.

By way of example, some of the nearly 50 separate indicators include such items as per capita income, poverty rate, obesity, infant mortality, homicides, rapes, number of law enforcement officers, high school dropout rate, percent of population lacking basic literacy, and schoolsystem funding per student.

Perusing the many compilations of statistics probably proves very little, but is nevertheless an interesting exercise. Below are abstracts from some of the many tabulations included in the report. They are presented as one image of Blount County that we don’t see every day and may not be aware of.

Overall Blount County fared reasonably well, compared to other counties, finishing in a fourway tie for 21st out of 67 counties in overall quality of life, according to the scoring system used by compilers. As in each of the sets of data shown here, the charts give the three highest counties on each measure, followed by Blount and three contiguous counties (St. Clair, Marshall, and Cullman), followed by three of the lowest counties in each category.

The report uses existing data, labeled in the data tables as “indicators,” as reported from local, state, and federal sources.

Overall County Rankings, Quality of Life

(out of a possible score of 140)
County and Rank Score
1. Shelby 122.0
2. Madison 109.0
3. Baldwin 103.0
21. Blount 87.5
25. Cullman 86.0
25. Marshall 86.0
31. St. Clair 83.5
65. Dallas 59.0
66. Wilcox 53.0
67. Greene 49.5

Overall Economy

(out of a possible score of 40)
RANK SCORE
1. Shelby 39
2. Madison 37
3. Jefferson 35
13. St. Clair 27
19. Cullman 25
22. Blount 24
29. Marshall 23
64. Greene 14
66. Perry 13
67. Wilcox 11

Overall Healthcare

(out of a possible score of 40)
RANK SCORE
1. Baldwin 40
2. Limestone 40
3. Dale 40
16. Marshall 36
21. Blount 35
26. Cullman 34
26. St. Clair 34
65. Greene 17
66. Perry 16
67. Wilcox 16

Economic Indicators

Poverty Per capita
rate (% of pop.) income
Shelby 5.8 $44,658
Baldwin 9.9 43,180
Madison 11.3 39,954
St. Clair 12.6 30,316
Blount 13.1 25,868
Cullman 14.8 28,930
Marshall 18.0 30,046
Perry 31.5 26,101
Sumter 32.9 24,129
Bullock 33.6 21,634

Healthcare Indicators

% Uninsured % Obesity heart disease/
Population cancer/stroke
Jefferson 12.0 Baldwin 24.6 Shelby 292
Shelby 12.4 Limestone 27.5 Lee 342
Montgomery 12.5 Marshall 27.5 Madison 343
Cullman 16.0 Shelby 27.5 St. Clair 484
St. Clair 16.3 Cullman 29.5 Blount 524
Marshall 17.1 Blount 31.5 Marshall 648
Blount 18.3 St. Clair 33.8 Cullman 687
Baldwin 18.3 Macon 40.6 Greene 818
Wilcox 18.7 Perry 40.7 Lamar 840
Lee 21.0 Dallas 41.6 Marion 866

Overall Public Safety

(out of a possible 20, based on crime statistics)
RANK SCORE
1. Choctaw 20.0
2. Lamar 15.5
3. Cherokee 13.0
8. Blount 10.5
35. Cullman 5.0
48. St. Clair 3.5
62. Marshall 2.0
65. Calhoun 1.5
65. Covington 1.5
67. Dale 1.0

Public Safety Indicators

Homicides
Blount 0
Winston 0
18 other counties 0
Cullman 3
St. Clair 5
Marshall 4
Madison 19
Montgomery 31
Mobile 35
Jefferson 93
Rapes
Greene 0
Wilcox 0
4 other counties 0
Blount 10
St. Clair 14
Cullman 16
Marshall 29
Montgomery 91
Madison 112
Jefferson 315
Vehicle thefts
Clark 2
Bullock 4
Conecuh 6
Blount 19
Cullman 86
St. Clair 96
Marshall 172
Madison 1,181
Mobile 1,557
Jefferson 2,942

Overall Education

(out of a possible score of 40)
RANK SCORE
1. Shelby 36
2. Madison 32
3. Jefferson 29
10. Marshall 25
23. Cullman 22
42. St. Clair 19
48. Blount 18
65. Russell 12
65. Greene 12
67. Bibb 11

Education Indicators

% of co. pop. % of co. pop.
with bachelor’s over 25 who are
degree or higher high school grads
Shelby 36.8 86.8
Madison 34.3 85.4
Jefferson 24.6 80.9
Marshall 13.9 69.4
Cullman 11.2 70.4
St. Clair 11.1 71.3
Blount 9.6 70.4
Clay 7.8 66.0
Lawrence 7.5 65.6
Bibb 7.1 63.2

Education Indicators (cont.)

% Lacking High School Funding
Literacy Skills Dropout Rate Per Student
Shelby 7 33.5 $8,000
Madison 10 39.1 9,194
St. Clair 12 48.1 9,311
Jefferson 13 40.0 9,685
Cullman 13 38.8 8,862
Blount 14 36.4 * 7,711
Marshall 16 46.5 8,854
Bibb 17 55.3 8,359
Russell 21 60.4 8,949
Greene 31 56.6 10,320

* 2nd lowest in state, according to this compilation; Autauga is lowest at $7,650.