Today at the Columbus Metropolitan Club, the presentation focused on the highlights from the Benchmarking Central Ohio 2008 report commissioned by the Columbus Partnership and undertaken by Community Research Partners.
The report assesses how the 8-county Columbus metropolitan area is doing, in comparison to 15 other metro areas, using a panel of 60 diverse indicators. The indicators focus on four broad areas—population vitality, economic strength, personal prosperity, and community well-being—each of which describes a facet of the community that contributes to economic competitiveness.
There's all sorts of information in the report, but a couple of things jump out at me:
1. Columbus ranked at the bottom (#16) in change in public transit usage and had a low ranking in the number of wi-fi hot spots (although in my travels Port Columbus is one of the few airports with free wi-fi).
2. We are ranked high (#4) in the number of Fortune 1,000 companies but last in the percent of very small businesses (fewer than 20 employees) and 13th in "births" of very small businesses.
3. Not surprisingly we do well in housing affordability, but, unfortunately, rank near the bottom in persons below the poverty level and persons receiving public assistance.
4. We are 2nd in library circulation but then ranked at the bottom in the number of arts establishments. This despite the fact that we are younger community in comparison with many of the cities we are benchmarking against.
The complete report has a wealth of interesting data that should help shape future planning to make Columbus a better place. Link here to download the entire report.