A new tool -- the Educational Needs Index  -- has been unveiled to help educators, politicians, and others measure the status of educational attainment and needs by geographic area. The project is based on U.S. Census Department data and backed by the Lumina Foundation for Education. State and local data focus on measures of:
- Educational attainment, measured by the percentage of the population with high school and college degrees.
- Economic capacity, measured by the percentage of the population in poverty, unemployment rates, the existing earnings capacity of residents and dependence on manufacturing and extraction jobs.
- Population dynamics, including demographics based on the population aged 19 and younger, and the relative size of an area’s minority populations (African-Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans), who historically have been offered fewer educational and economic opportunities, and younger citizens who likewise face educational and training needs.