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Franklin County officials hear results of prosperity report

Committee will use report to look at what people and programs already are providing services in areas of need

December 06, 2012|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com
  • Franklin County poverty levels
Franklin County poverty levels

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — About 91 percent of Franklin County, Pa., residents are above the poverty level, and the county’s high school graduation rate is higher than the state average.

However, about 15 percent of residents younger than 65 do not have health insurance and 30 percent of adults are obese.

The findings in a newly released “prosperity indicators report” reveal strengths and weaknesses in Pennsylvania’s fourth-fastest growing county.

During a Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce breakfast Thursday, researcher David Polk highlighted sections of the prosperity report commissioned by the Chamber of Commerce, Franklin County Area Development Corp., Franklin County government, Summit Health and the United Way of Franklin County.

A committee will use the report to look at what people and programs already are providing services in areas of need, then find ways to assist them or help them collaborate, according to Suzanne Miller Trinh, chairwoman of the chamber’s board of directors.

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Polk set out with the question of whether Franklin County is prosperous. He evaluated well-being, education, economy, and health and safety with sources such as the U.S. Census, charitable giving statistics, standardized test results in education and Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry statistics.

The well-being category includes the percentage of population change in 10 years, median household and per-capita incomes, housing affordability, voting, charitable giving, time spent commuting, recycling and air quality.

From 2000 to 2010, the county’s population increased by 15.7 percent, the report states while citing Census data. The median household income increased from $40,476 to $49,514 in that time.

The statewide median household income was $49,288 in 2010, according to the report.

Polk said economic indicators are key to evaluating prosperity.

“People have to have opportunities for gainful employment,” he said.

More than one-third of homeowners are spending 30 percent or more of their income on their mortgages, which slightly exceeds the state average, the reports states.

In addition to comparisons to state averages, the report evaluates Franklin County against six other counties, including Washington County in Maryland and Berkeley County in West Virginia.

The full report will be made available at www.chambersburg.org.

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