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Report finds how York County measures up

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YORK, Pa. -- A York County group took a snapshot of the county to compare its health and well-being against the state's.

The York County Community Foundation released the latest results of its YorkCounts report and the picture it paints isn't completely rosy. The purpose of the report is to see how the county measures up.

York County Community Foundation vice-president of community development Lise Levin said "to be able to understand what life is like in the county, and even pull out trends that we may want to be focusing on together as a community."

"It generates conversations about the big issues that are going on in York, that we really need to be paying attention to," Levin added.

Many recognize York County is a county on the move, but it begs the question if it's it moving in the right direction.

York County Commissioner Christopher Reilly said "our tax base is expanding, our population is increasing. I think the quality of life is improving across the board, but with those growing pains come issues."

"How do you measure that success, and that's what we're looking to do. We hope this data will help us be able to measure the impact of the things we're doing," Levin said.

The YorkCounts report takes a look at the quality of life in York County.

"I was troubled by some of the trends in education, truancy is up, test scores are down throughout the county, and subsidized lunches are up, but all in all I thought it was a generally positive report. There's always room for improvement," Reilly said.

While the economy of York County has improved, wages and unemployment haven't seen much improvement, still lagging behind the state. Crime may be down, but homicide is now the second cause of death for people age 5 to 24-years-old in the county.

"Smaller municipal governments are really challenged, to address some of these huge issues, around poverty and disparity in income, and the more we work together, the better results we'll be able to achieve," Levin said.

That includes addressing the changing face of a diverse community.

"Demographics are getting older, across the board, our area on aging is going to be involved in that. I'm sure it's going to create more work for them, but that's a trend we need to know about so we can plan appropriately for services," Reilly said.

The report also shows fewer people are taking advantage of the county's arts and entertainment offerings, but it's not all bad news.

"With the new Arts District and all the cultural events that are going on throughout the year, I was surprised by that, but hey, if folks are not going to the concert, and they're going to go out and use a park, we're OK with that too," Reilly said.

The York County Community Foundation is a non-profit funded by donors, but other non-profit groups may take the information in the YorkCounts study and use to apply for federal or state grants as well as from the foundation itself.

Anyone can take a look at YorkCounts to see how their own life measures up to others in the county.