American Dream Case Study – Cincinnati MSA

Ed Burghard

 

Cincinnati where the river winds
Cross the Mason and the Dixie Line
Heaven waits for me I know
In Cincinnati, Ohio, Cincinnati, Ohio

Cincinnati Ohio Song … Conny Smith

 

First, Great News!

Work on being able to generate a 2013 American Dream MSA Ranking Report is underway.  The Team at Xavier University will provide the data set in late January/early February for me to use in authoring the Report.  I am excited, because many of the economic development professionals I have talked to this year have indicated an MSA level report would be more actionable to support their local strategic planning.  Thanks to the Xavier University Team, I will be able to be in a position to provide the data at the MSA level in February 2014.

For perspective, I will also be authoring a 2013 American Dream State Ranking Report.  Since this will be the second year data has been available at the state level, I will also be able to document year-over-year performance.  My belief is the role of elected officials (and economic development professionals) is to better enable residents to achieve their American Dream.  These data will let me document whether Governors are making progress against this objective or not.  Think of it as a “Report Card” on the performance of Gubernatorial Administration performance.  And, considering 36 states are holding Gubernatorial elections in 2014, this Report should make an interesting contribution to the evaluation of incumbent performance.

So I could get my head wrapped around the 2013 American Dream MSA Ranking Report, I asked the Xavier Team to provide me a look at the latest 12-months of data for my home MSA of Cincinnati.  Since I have the data, I thought you might be interested in some of the findings.

It is also timely given the election of a new Mayor for Cincinnati and the publication of an editorial entitled “New Mayor Needs to Invest In The Future”.  Great advice, but what should the new Mayor invest in to ensure residents of Cincinnati have the best future possible?  Xavier University’s data offers some insights.

Analytical Method

Remember, the ADCI data represents the sentiment of residents in a defined geography.  Respondents are asked to provide perspective on 135 statements that combined have been statistically validated to represent the multifaceted American Dream.  These data are then reported as 35 distinct dimensions.

One question that keeps coming up when I speak about the ADCI data is – “Doesn’t resident pride in location bias the data?”  The answer is – NO.  The questionnaire asks them to respond as individuals and makes no reference to their current location.  With respect to analyzing the data, my approach is pretty straightforward.  I index a location’s dimension scores versus a relevant comparative location.  If the index is equal to or greater than 105, then the location has a competitive advantage versus the comparator on that dimension.  If the index is 95 or less, then the location is at a competitive disadvantage.

I recommend MSAs and/or states look to devise strategies that increase the gap for dimensions that are advantages and strategies that close the gap for dimensions judged to be at disadvantage.  You can read more about the process I recommend for using the ADCI data in strategic planning by clicking HERE.

Cincinnati Versus Ohio

Based on these data, Cincinnati has an advantage versus Ohio overall for the following dimensions.  Note, the Ohio data includes respondents from Cincinnati.  The way you read the data is residents of Cincinnati feel as though they are achieving more of their American Dream than Ohio residents do in the following dimensions.

  • Access to Education
  • Financial Security
  • Job Benefits
  • Material Prosperity
  • Health Care
  • Family Support
  • Happiness
  • Leisure Activities
  • Satisfaction with Residence
  • Social Status
  • Support of Someone Special
  • Education Quality
  • Safety in Community
  • Melting Pot – Diversity

Cincinnati is at a disadvantage versus Ohio for the following dimensions.  The way you read the data is residents of Cincinnati feel as though they are not achieving their American Dream to the same level as Ohio residents do in the following dimensions.

  • Home Ownership
  • Fruits of My Labor
  • Environment

Cinci vs Ohio jpeg

Cincinnati Versus The Nation

Based on these data, Cincinnati has an advantage versus the US overall for the following dimensions.  Note, the National data includes respondents from Cincinnati.  The way you read the data is residents of Cincinnati feel as though they are achieving more of their American Dream than US residents do in the following dimensions.

  • Access to Education
  • Financial Security
  • Job Benefits
  • Material Prosperity
  • Health Care
  • Family Support
  • Fruits of My Labor
  • Satisfaction with Residence
  • Education Quality
  • Trust in Business
  • Melting Pot – Diversity

Cincinnati is at a disadvantage versus the US for the following dimensions.  The way you read the data is residents of Cincinnati feel as though they are not achieving their American Dream to the same level as US residents do in the following dimensions.

  • Home Ownership
  • Personal Health
  • Environment

Cinci vs Nation jpeg

Discussion

You can get a further explanation of what each of the dimensions mean by visiting the Xavier University ADCI website.  Just click on the sub-index description and a definition for the related dimensions will be provided.

Your first inclination will be to reference third-party databases to confirm or reject the ADCI data.   What you will find is the traditional data sets may or may not line up with these results.  The ADCI data represent resident sentiment.  If the traditional data suggest the scores should be higher, then it may be indicative of a need to do a better job of communicating the facts with residents.  The ADCI data inform you on HOW residents are feeling, but they do not define the drivers behind WHY they feel the way they do.  Supplemental research to define the drivers and best in class performance is needed to move into strategy development.

I encourage you to take the data at face value, and ask the question – “Why do residents feel this way?”  Understanding the sentiment drivers will give you the insights you need to create effective strategies.

It is clear that residents of Cincinnati feel they are achieving more of their American Dream on a number of dimensions.  These specific dimensions represent opportunities for strategies to extend Cincinnati’s advantages.  There are quite a few dimensions Cincinnati residents feel very good about.

But, there are a few dimensions Cincinnati residents are not feeling as good about as either Ohio residents or US residents.  In my mind, the fact that Home Ownership and Environment showed up as a disadvantage in both comparisons begs further research to uncover the specific sentiment drivers.

Hopefully you can see how the ADCI data can help community leaders make better-informed decisions regarding asset creation, infrastructure investment and public policy reform.  I am also hoping you can see that the type of strategic discussion resulting from using these data is very different than the traditional discussion that may have taken place in your community.

If you want to learn more about the ADCI data, read about my journey below.  And, take a look at the Wall Street Journal coverage.  Would you be surprised to know the Federal Reserve is looking at using the ADCI data as a leading indicator of our Nation’s economy?  The article will share who else is convinced in the statistical validity of the ADCI data and looking at leveraging it.

You might also be interested in this FoxNews coverage of the ADCI data.

Leave a comment with your thoughts.

Read About My Journey To Learn More About The American Dream

American Dream Case Study Series

Indiana versus Michigan

Florida versus North Carolina

New York versus New Jersey

California versus Texas

Pennsylvania versus New York

North Carolina versus Texas

Ohio versus Michigan

News Coverage

Wall Street Journal

FoxNews

How Easy Is It To Achieve The American Dream In Your State?

To view the complete set of State rankings based on the ADCI and five explanatory sub-indexes, download the complimentary 2012 American Dream State Ranking Report.

Download American Dream Report

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3 Comments so far

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  2. […] Cincinnati versus Ohio and Nation […]

  3. Rollie Cole

    December 3, 2013

    I really look forward to the extension to MSAs, which I feel are the key “communities” for economic development. I like the idea of a comparative index, rather than an absolute one, especially when dealing with “feeling” rather than other sorts of data.
    You use 5 points as a “significant difference,” focusing on measures less than 95% or more than 105% of the state or national average. I would be really interested in adding some threshold based on the standard deviation of the measure, rather than a percentage — in other words, is Cincinnati above or below the state or national mean (median?) by one or more standard deviations?
    But in any case, keep that data flowing. I think we need to know a lot more about each place in order to help each achieve its goals.
    Rollie Cole, PhD, JD
    Founder, Fertile Ground for Startups, Small Firms, and Nonprofits
    “Think Small to Grow Big”
    Author of WHOLESALE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

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