City controller’s newest data site breaks down city demographics and economics by council district
Which neighborhood’s residents have the longest morning commutes? Which residential area has the highest vacancy rate? Which district has the oldest Angelenos? How about the highest and lowest incomes? And where in the City are unemployed women most likely to live?
The answers to these questions and many more are now available online on EconomyPanel, a new online dashboard launched last week by City Controller Ron Galperin. The site enables residents, businesses, non-profits and academics to explore economic and demographic information about the City–broken down by council district.
“EconomyPanel empowers Angelenos with key data to make more smart and informed decisions, investments and choices,” said Controller Galperin. “With the information we’ve put online, residents, businesses and policymakers all have new tools to separate facts from fiction, and to make better data-driven decisions.”
EconomyPanel features demographic and economic data about the City’s fifteen council districts, broken down into six broad categories including: population, gender, income, employment, housing, and building permits.
The data show, for example, that Council District 14, which includes Downtown LA, has 333,071 people working in the district — about as many as work in the six districts with the lowest number of jobs combined.
Users can delve deeper by investigating more than 50 key indicators for each council district. Those indicators include average wages, unemployment rates, population by age and race, and the number and value of building permits awarded. Users can pick and choose from the various indicators to create their own scorecards, which can be easily downloaded and shared via social media.
In addition, users can view trends in the data going back, in some cases, more than a decade. For example, homebuilders, housing advocates and policymakers seeking to boost the amount of housing in Los Angeles might note that the number of residential permits awarded citywide has rebounded after plummeting in 2009. And yet, 60% of the single family home permits awarded in 2015 were clustered in just four council districts: 2, 4, 5 and 11.
Likewise, transportation planners, engineers, home builders–and people looking for a new home–might be surprised to learn that the average commute time in Los Angeles doesn’t vary much across the City. Residents of CD 15, which includes the harbor area, have the shortest commute: 28 minutes. Meanwhile, residents of CD 8, in South LA, have the longest, at 33 minutes. 30 minutes is the citywide average.
Several Councilmembers, including Marqueece Harris-Dawson, who represents CD 8, have announced that they’ll be putting information from EconomyPanel on their websites for constituents to view.
“EconomyPanel is a dynamic tool that will give us a snapshot of key demographic and economic indicators which will inform us in future data-driven policymaking,” said Councilmember Harris-Dawson. “I’m eager to use insights from the data to address chronic unemployment and income disparities in Council District 8 and to bring equity and parity to underserved communities throughout Los Angeles.”
The information on EconomyPanel was compiled by the Controller’s office as part of a collaborative partnership with the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce and Beacon Economics. Those organizations have previously made economic information available at the district level, but never before has this data been made online and interactive.
“Not only is the City of Los Angeles the second-largest in the nation, it is geographically large and complex, especially with all the variations across it neighborhoods,” said Chris Thornberg, Founding Partner of Beacon Economics, which prepared the data based on sources such as the U.S. Census Bureau and California Employment Development Department. “With this launch, the Controller’s Office is putting detailed data in the hands of government officials, community leaders, businesses, and others so they can better understand L.A., and make more informed decisions on behalf of its residents.”
“We applaud Controller Galperin for making this information on the City’s economy available on his website,” said Gary Toebben, President and CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. “It will be valuable to the residents and businesses of Los Angeles and to the City staff who serve us all. We are proud that this information was initially prepared for the Chamber to use in building the economy of Los Angeles.”
The data on EconomyPanel covers the period of 2004 to 2015, though the exact dates vary for each data set. The Controller’s office will update most data quarterly; updates to some demographic data is available annually.
In 2013, Controller Galperin launched ControlPanel.LA, which contains hundreds of datasets and visualizations related to the City of Los Angeles’ expenditures, revenues, payroll, special funds and more. Information about the DWP’s financials, including information about payroll and spending, can be found at UtilityPanel.la