We all want an increasingly better Quality of Life for ourselves and our children, but we don’t always keep tabs on what the constituent parts of that betterment might be. Although a good QL index takes time, customization, and tweaks to develop fully, at this early stage, Aniacieske believes that among the most important components of a good quality of life are:
(1) Public Safety, that we should feel safe in our community—having low violent crime and homicide rates—certainly lower than the national average of 394 violent crimes and 5.3 homicides per 100K residents.
Currently, in our area, our approximate numbers are violent crimes at 400/100K and homicide rate at 1.1/100K. We are pretty safe, but unfortunately, the number of assaults and homicides has increased from last year. SCORE—14.
(2) Health, that our community should enjoy the probability of a high life expectancy—certainly at or higher than the national average of 79 years. An indicator of health is the community’s obesity rate, with our nation scoring, on average 31.3%.
Currently, 86% of us have health insurance, the county’s life expectancy is 85.1 years, and our obesity rate is 19.5%. We are doing pretty well overall with our health. SCORE—16.
(3) We should all have abundant, reliable, and increasingly renewable energy, broadband Internet, and fast, safe, and reliable transportation systems. We should achieve at least the national averages of consistent energy availability with a 10% renewable energy usage, an internet usage of at least 90%, and a commute time of fewer than 27 minutes.
Our renewable energy usage (district-level data was hard to come by) statewide is 6.9% (but our county’s Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination has big plans). Our county’s internet accessibility (usage data was not readily available at the district level) stands at a national leading 93%. But 66% of us have a 25-minute or longer commute. We are doing poorly on energy and transportation but well in internet accessibility. SCORE—6.
Our (4) Education system should ensure a high school graduation rate above the national average of 84% and our children’s expected years of schooling should exceed 16.3.
Our schools are pretty good and our high school graduation rate stands at 86%, but only 47.9% of us go on to obtain a college degree or above. Extrapolating from a mix of county, district, and state data, our expected years of schooling hovers around 14. SCORE—9.
Our (5) Economic Development & Opportunity efforts should result in a job growth rate above the national average of 1.2%, employment to population ratio around the national average of 59.6%, a sought-after per-capita income above $60,000 and a poverty rate below the national average of 13.4%.
Our median per capita income is between $39,456 and $59,994 (depending on your source), our employment to population ratio hovers around 60% and our poverty rate stands at about 7.6%, and Northern Virginia’s annual job growth rate (USBLS, 2018) stood at 0.9%. SCORE—9.
The quality of our physical (6) Environment can be impacted by how we manage our land and resource usage, resulting, among other things, in quantity and type of emissions, which often can be measured by how good our air is—we should endeavor to ensure our Air Quality Index is healthy, at or below a score of 35—through 50 and below is considered good. Other measures of Environmental quality will be developed.
Currently, Alexandria’s AQI hovers around 25, but it was hard to obtain a meaningful overall score for our diverse district. Nevertheless, until we can get better data, we will use our overall proximity to Alexandria as an indicator of how we are doing viz. AQI. SCORE—16.
Lee District’s Quality of Life score for Summer, 2020 hovers around—70 (out of 100).
***Assuming each category is given equal weight, 100 divided by 6 = approximately 16.67% each. So the scores are from a total possible per category of 16.67 points.*** With 100 an idealized and unrealistic score, approximating it is the overall objective. We seem to be nearly ¾ of the way there, not a bad place to begin. We will update this score periodically.
Sources: Fairfax County, Virginia state, and U.S. governments, towncharts.com, U.N., World Population Review, and usnews.com.