Unprecedented Quality of Life Report for Three Metro Areas of the Fox River Region

From Brown County United Way, October 4, 2011
by Adam Hardy, adam@browncountyunitedway.org, (920) 593-4779

An unprecedented report on the quality of life in three metro areas of the Fox River region was released today at the Kress Family Library, 333 N. Broadway St.

The 2011 LIFE (Leading Indicators For Excellence) Study Regional Report is the result of 1.5 years of research on 10 key indicators for economic, physical and emotional wellbeing in the four counties. Funding partners guided the research based on issues unique to each region. Key baseline data was compared in a first-of-its-kind collaboration.

"With this report, you have a good starting point to bring people together to talk about the issues," said Dr. Lora Warner, Director of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Center for Public Affairs. Warner led the project in coordination with St. Norbert College Strategic Research Institute.

The 2011 LIFE Study Regional Report is based on research in the three metro regions -- which includes Appleton, Green Bay and Oshkosh -- and includes input from more than 900 community leaders and 1,200 community members, focus groups from diverse community sectors, expert panels and secondary raw data.

The findings, Warner said, indicate the three metro regions have similar strengths, including:

- High satisfaction with quality of life
- Affordable place to live, great for children and families
- Economic conditions better than rest of nation
- Student test scores higher than state averages
- Better safety than elsewhere

In addition, the findings showed similar challenges and opportunities for collaboration, including:

- Access to health care and affordable housing
- Community cohesiveness
- Unemployment
- Self-sufficiency
- Support for children, youth and older adults

"I think the scope of this project has far exceeded anything that has been done in the past," said David Wegge, Executive Director of St. Norbert College Strategic Research Institute. "I feel very confident that we have now have strong grasp on what issues will confront us in the future and what we're doing well."

The 2011 LIFE Study Regional Report is expected to be used by a variety community organizations, business and individuals, including nonprofits, municipal governments, school districts, businesses and groups interested in regional economic development and quality of life improvement opportunities.

LIFE Studies were conducted separately but simultaneously in communities in each of the three metro regions, including Brown, Calumet, Outagamie and Winnebago counties.

The schedule for release of local LIFE Study results:
Oct. 5, 2011: Brown County LIFE Study (in Green Bay)
Oct. 7, 2011: Fox Cities (in Appleton) and Southern Winnebago County (in Oshkosh) LIFE Studies.

Printed publications are available from any of the study partners, including community foundations and United Ways in the Fox Cities, Green Bay and Oshkosh. All LIFE Study reports can be accessed online at http://www.LifeStudy.info.

The LIFE study funding partners include the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation; Brown County United Way; Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce; U.S. Venture Fund for Basic Needs, Oshkosh Area United Way; Oshkosh Area Community Foundation; United Way Fox Cities; Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region; Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce; Fox Cities Economic Development Partnership.