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THE 2-1-1


The North Carolina Justice Center's N.C. Budget & Tax Center released its annual snapshots - comparison of key economic and social indicators - for all 100 counties pre-COVID-19. Let’s take a look at the numbers and see how our region stacks up. 
But first a couple of statewide numbers.
 
28, 31.9, 14.1 23.5, 28.5

The first number (28) is the number of times by which the average annual income of the richest 5 percent of North Carolinians exceed those of the poorest 20 percent of households in the state.

The second number (31.9) is the percentage of North Carolina residents considered low-income, meaning they make less than $50,200 for a family of four. 
 
The third number (14.1) is the percentage of North Carolina residents living in poverty ($25,100 for a family of four) with the last two numbers showing the percentage of African American (23.5) and Latinx (28.5) residents living in poverty compared with just over 10 percent of White citizens.
 
Now, a look at our region. 
 
Brunswick County
 
23 - the number of times by which the average annual incomes of the richest 5 percent of North Carolinians exceed those of the poorest 20 percent of households in the county.
 
31.1 - the percentage of residents considered low-income in the county.
 
10.5 - the percentage of residents living in poverty in the county.
            23.3- African American
            29 – Latinx
            10.3 – White
 
 
Columbus County
 
36 - the number of times by which the average annual incomes of the richest 5 percent of North Carolinians exceed those of the poorest 20 percent of households in the county.
 
48.1 - the percentage of residents considered low-income in the county.
 
25.3 - the percentage of residents living in poverty in the county.
            37.6- African American
            45.8 – Latinx
            15.3 – White
 
New Hanover County
 
33 - the number of times by which the average annual incomes of the richest 5 percent of North Carolinians exceed those of the poorest 20 percent of households in the county.
 
34.7 - the percentage of residents considered low-income in the county.
 
15.3 - the percentage of residents living in poverty in the county.
            33.3- African American
            30.2 – Latinx
            13.5 – White
 
Onslow County
 
16 - the number of times by which the average annual incomes of the richest 5 percent of North Carolinians exceed those of the poorest 20 percent of households in the county.
 
39.6 - the percentage of residents considered low-income in the county.
 
15.1 - the percentage of residents living in poverty in the county.
            23.2- African American
            16.2 – Latinx
            11.3 – White
 
 
Pender County
 
30 - the number of times by which the average annual incomes of the richest 5 percent of North Carolinians exceed those of the poorest 20 percent of households in the county.
 
31.6 - the percentage of residents considered low-income in the county.
 
15.1 - the percentage of residents living in poverty in the county.
            21.6- African American
            35.5 – Latinx
            11.3 – White
 
A glance at these numbers shows the burden of poverty weighs heavily on our communities of color and there are wide gaps between our richest residents and poorest.

Keep in mind, all these numbers are pre-COVID. There is no doubt these percentages are going to change and the gap between the richest 5 percent and the poorest 20 is going to grow.

Since the start of the pandemic, 97 out of 100 counties have seen an increase in unemployment claims and from March 15 to May 11, more than 860,000 unemployment claims were filed statewide.

We had a long way to go to close the economic equity gap before COVID. The explosion of unemployment claims only means we've got a longer way to go. – Kevin Maurer

We’re sending out this newsletter in an effort to track the coronavirus impact on the Cape Fear Region. Cape Fear Collective (CFC) is using NC 2-1-1 - a service run by the United Way of North Carolina. It allows residents to get free, confidential information and referrals related to community services. Consider It a metaphorical flashlight, allowing us to see trouble spots.
 
This update covers March 16 through May 17 for New Hanover, Onslow, Brunswick, Columbus, and Pender Counties. The archive of past weeks can be found here.
 
If you have comments, questions or suggestions, send us an email at info@capefearcollective.org or look us up on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
We’re sending out this newsletter in an effort to track the coronavirus impact on the Cape Fear Region. Cape Fear Collective (CFC) is using NC 2-1-1 - a service run by the United Way of North Carolina. It allows residents to get free, confidential information and referrals related to community services. Consider It a metaphorical flashlight, allowing us to see trouble spots.
 
This update covers March 16 through May 17 for New Hanover, Onslow, Brunswick, Columbus, and Pender Counties. The archive of past weeks can be found here.
 
If you have comments, questions or suggestions, send us an email at info@capefearcollective.org or look us up on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Here is Dr. Chris Prentice, a UNCW professor and data advisor to the Cape Fear Collective and Nick Pylypiw, director of data science for the Cape Fear Collective, with a breakdown of the data. This week, we decided to focus on two assistance categories which have exhibited sustained increase over the last few months.

Although the data offers a useful window into peoples’ needs, the sample size is relatively small from a statistical standpoint. So, we shouldn’t overreact to these insights or use them in isolation to make policy and management decisions.
In reviewing the refreshed 2-1-1 request data, we found two items worth noting. The first notable finding is that disaster requests - a broad category that captures various urgent needs - over the last couple months are at levels consistent with those seen during Hurricane Dorian. Not only are requests as high as those last seen during a natural disaster, but, unfortunately, calls have remained high for a sustained period of time. In particular, Brunswick County is still at a level much higher than typical.
We also uncovered interesting findings among the different sub-categories of housing requests. Using a slightly relaxed smoothing parameter (i.e., allowing some of the noise into the visualization), we found that rent assistance requests have gone down slightly and may be regressing to the mean. However, shelter and low-cost housing requests are on a steep upward trend. This divergence highlights a pretty stark contrast  in requests among housing needs - an observation that warrants closer inspection over the coming month.

Conclusion


CFC is working to establish an accurate snapshot of health, economic, and social disparities in the Cape Fear Region. We launched this newsletter to track the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in this region using United Way of North Carolina’s NC 2-1-1 data. The goal was to provide readers with another tool to understand and respond to this unprecedented challenge. We believe data should be current, accurate, and accessible to every organization and citizen. In keeping with that spirit, we plan to expand the scope of this newsletter from just 2-1-1 data to other sources in order to continue to provide readers with the information they need to deal with fallout from COVID-19.  We will endeavor to find new and useful sources that may shed light on trouble spots in our community as we work towards recovery.

To learn more about the Cape Fear Collective’s data and analytics work, click here.
 
If you have comments, questions, or suggestions then send us an email at info@capefearcollective.org or look us up on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

LOCAL COVID-19 TRACKING

UNCW’s Dr. Rachel Carroll, assistant professor of mathematics and statistics, and Dr. Mark Lammers, professor and director of UNCW’s Data Science Program, have developed two tools that track COVID-19 cases in the Cape Fear region.
 
Carroll created a spatial-temporal tool that maps COVID-19 in the United States, North Carolina and the Cape Fear Region. Lammers developed a visualization tool that tracks COVID-19 cases by county in North Carolina, Virginia and South Carolina. He wanted to do something more locally focused.
 
Both tools update daily using data from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
Cape Fear Collective and the Wilmington Chamber partnered with RTI International to bring a comprehensive skills analysis to our six-county region. The survey data will provide current and regionally-specific information for policy makers in workforce, education and economic development.  As an employer, whether in a large corporation, small business, nonprofit organization or government agency, please take a few minutes to complete the survey today.
COMPLETE THE SURVEY
SHARE Cape Fear provides an online portal for nonprofit organizations, including faith-based groups and churches with 501(c)3 status, to build a profile, set up a wish list, and call for volunteers. Neighbors to the site are able to connect with those organizations and sign up to help either through monetary or goods donation or volunteering. Registration for SHARE Cape Fear is free. For more information, visit ShareCapeFear.org

Links


Here is a collection of links with the latest information on COVID-19. This is a rolling list and we’ll update as needed. If you find a helpful link, please send it and we’ll include it on the list.
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