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MEDIA NEWSWIRE

Web site is quick source for state and county statistical data

By Sharon Omahen
University of Georgia

Students across the state are collecting their supplies and heading back to school. Adding a University of Georgia web site to their supply list will make report writing on their county or the State of Georgia, a lot easier.

With a few clicks of a computer mouse, the Georgia Statistics System, found at www.georgiastats.uga.edu generates statistical data on all 159 Georgia counties. The site allows visitors to generate county-specific information on agriculture, courts and crime, economics, education, government, health, housing, labor, natural resources, population, public assistance, transportation and vital statistics.

From farms to schools

Agriculture information ranges from the number of farms in a county to farmer income levels. Crime information includes the number of juvenile arrests and the percentage of probationers living in a county.

Economic information provides a breakdown of each county's household median income, the number of residents living below poverty level and the total lottery sales in the county.

Education data includes the racial breakdown of students, the number of high school dropouts and the number of teachers in the public school system.

All of the data for the site comes from the Georgia County Guide and the Farmgate Value Report. Both are annual publications of UGA's Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development. The web site now makes this information readily available to anyone with Internet access.

"We wanted to get this information out on the Internet so that more people would have access to it," said Warren Kriesel, an agricultural economist with UGA's College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. "In February of 2001, we went on-line and since then we've had more than 60,000 individual requests for information."

Population information most popular

The site also includes agriculture fact sheets for each county in Georgia and a demographic profile of each county. A population table shows the racial breakdown of each city in Georgia.

Kriesel says visitors to the site range from school students and administrators to county planners and bank presidents.

"We have a built-in system that allows us to track our users," he said. "We get a lot of hits from newspapers, school systems, colleges across the state, planning agencies and real estate agencies."

The site also keeps track of what information is most requested.

"The most popular information is population data, followed by education, economic, year-to-year analyses and shift share analyses," Kriesel said.

As one of the web site's planners, Kriesel says visitors enjoy the anonymity of accessing personalized data using web technology.

"Most people like the fact that they can access the information from their home or office and they never have to actually talk to a person or be put on hold," Kriesel said. "I do still get phone calls, but usually it's someone wanting us to add even more information to the site."

(Sharon Omahen is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

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