Data Byte: Mobility and Affordability- Understand the Economic Well-Being of Your Greater Community

Are you curious about the economic health of our community? In order to understand the state of our economy, it is important to recognize the varied human experience within our own county. Significant indicators of economic health include upward mobility and the affordability of living. What does that mean? Well, absolute upward mobility measures “the average economic outcome of a child from a below-median income family,” as is discussed in The Equal Opportunity Project (for more information, check out As for affordability, for many people, housing and transportation are the two greatest household costs (for more information, check out So, affordability relates to the ability of individuals to meet their basic needs based on their income and these expenses. Thus, measures of mobility and affordability go hand in hand in illustrating our wellbeing, and the wellbeing of our neighbors!

The following interactive tools enable you to understand both the upward mobility and overall affordability of living in your community, and other communities in the United States, in depth! These tools can help direct the conversation in determining how to improve the economy for all members of our community.

Raj Chetty, Nathaniel Hendren, Patrick Kline, Emmanuel Saez, and Nicholas Turner completed extensive research measuring the various levels of mobility in regions across the United States, highlighting variation. As well, they recognized the presence of the following five characteristics in areas with greater mobility: “less segregation, less income inequality, better schools, greater social capital, and more stable families.” Based on this research, The New York Times created this interactive map that enables you to determine the average upward mobility of a child with parents making a certain level of income in the county.

mobility map MarchCheck out this interactive map at

On to affordability! The two tools that will help us gage affordability in Sarasota are The Local Affordability Index mapping tool and the Paycheck to Paycheck graphing tool. The Local Affordability Index mapping tool depicts the affordability of your community for members of 8 different categories: Regional Typical, Regional Moderate, Dual-Income Family, Low-Income, Single Person Very Low Income, Single Professional, Single Workers, and Retirees. Based on the the selected category, the index presents the affordability of an area by predicting the percentage of income you will have to spend on both housing and transportation expenses.

affodability index March

Check out this interactive map at!

Last but not least, the Paycheck to Paycheck tool enables you to zoom in on the affordability of living in a specific metropolitan area based on the average home prices or rent for a one or two bedroom apartment and the average income of various occupations. After selecting an occupation, or a set of occupations, this data tool graphs the earnings for a person working in the selected occupation(s) adjacent to the required annual income to live in a home or apartment. This tool enables you to obtain a visual understanding of the affordability of living in Sarasota based on occupation.

occupation 1 March occupation 2 March
















Check out this interactive data tool at!

Interested in learning more about the economic health of Sarasota County or other factors that impact our community? Keep an eye out for the 2013 Community Report Card!