Archive for Thursday, December 16, 2010

Douglas County census information shows diversity among communities

December 16, 2010

It has never been a surprise the Douglas County communities of Baldwin City, Eudora and Lecompton are much different from their bigger neighbor Lawrence.

But now new data show just how different they are.

The U.S. Census Bureau for the first time has the ability to release detailed information about even the smallest communities on an annual basis. The bureau, through its American Community Survey program, will release a rolling five-year estimate of information such as earnings, home ownership levels, educational attainment and a host of other categories for every community in the country. The first report from the program was released this week.

The results are tabulated from Census surveys taken throughout the year. All the surveys are conducted scientifically, but still the margins of error can be high on some findings. So keep that in mind when considering the data. But the survey is expected to be an improvement over the old system, which gave many communities detailed data only once every 10 years.

Here’s a look at what the new report had to say about Douglas County communities.

Baldwin bucks

Baldwin City had the highest median household income of any city in Douglas County. And really, it wasn’t even close. The household average was $64,693 for the five-year period from 2005 to 2009. The others: Eudora, $56,957; Lecompton, $48,333; Lawrence $39,689.

Eudora equity

In every Douglas County city, full-time female employees made less than full-time male employees. But Eudora came a lot closer to equity than any other. Full-time female employees in Eudora earned $37,289, or about $1,800 less than full-time male employees. In terms of a percentage, females earned about 4.6 percent less. The others: Lawrence, $7,500 less or 18.6 percent; Lecompton, $9,200 less or 21.4 percent; Baldwin City $18,200 less or 37.8 percent.

Historic Lecompton

When it comes to old homes, Lecompton is leading the way in Douglas County. Lecompton has the highest percentage of homes built before 1940, at 24.1 percent. The others: Baldwin City 16.9 percent; Lawrence, 10.7 percent; Eudora, 8 percent.

Lawrence living

Lawrence takes the top spot in a category some wish it did not. About 23 percent of all Lawrence homeowners with a mortgage pay more than 35 percent of their income toward housing. Paying that much for housing in the other cities: Baldwin City, 20 percent; Eudora, 15 percent; Lecompton 2 percent.

Home values

Given that stat, it is not hard to guess which city has the highest median home values. Lawrence checked in at $168,100. The others: Baldwin City, $153,300; Eudora, $151,300; Lecompton, $88,100.

A college town

There may be something even more obvious than all the Jayhawk references that gives Lawrence away as a major university community — all the renters. About 53 percent of all residents in Lawrence are renters. The others: Eudora, 29 percent; Baldwin City, 12.5 percent; Lecompton, less than 1 percent.

Drive time

Lawrence may have its share of commuters, but Lawrence workers spend less time commuting to work than others. Lawrence checks in with a mean commute time of 18 minutes. The others: Lecompton, 23 minutes; Baldwin City, 22 minutes; Eudora, 22 minutes.

The young bunch

No surprise here. In a finding that probably colors all the others, Lawrence is the youngest city in the county. The median age in Lawrence was 25 years. The others: Baldwin City, 29.7; Eudora, 30.2; Lecompton, 39.8.

To see the full set of statistics for any city in the country, go to census.gov/acs.

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