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Activity to Explore Community Demographics

This two-page activity from Everyday Democracy, Activity to Explore Community Demographics, is to improve efforts to be inclusive when creating a team or coalition. This exercise gives prompts for a group brainstorming activity, suggests doing previous research, and utilizing resources to find information on the community to build a diverse group of people. Read the activity below or find the original and download for free from Everyday Democracy’s site here.

explore-community-demographicsFrom the activity…

Purpose of activity: Use this exercise to help your coalition make a list of the diverse people and groups in your community.

This list is helpful for recruitment and communications purposes, to help your efforts be inclusive.

Materials needed:
Flip chart
Markers

Part 1: Brainstorm activity
Brainstorming is a creative way for a group to come up with lots of ideas in a short amount of time.

As a large group, brainstorm responses to these questions:

Who makes up our community?

What kinds of people live, work and go to school here?

Make sure to think about ALL the different kinds of people who make up your community. Think about race and culture, economic background, religious or spiritual background, political background, profession, age, gender, etc.

Capture each response on a flip chart.

Part 2: Research the demographics of your community
Have some volunteers do research about who makes up the community. Bring the information back to the group at the next meeting. Or, you can prepare the information ahead of time to continue the conversation immediately after the brainstorm.

Compare the list you brainstormed with the information the volunteers researched. As a group, discuss these questions:

Are there any groups that we missed in our brainstorm? Why?

Is there any information you find surprising?

As you continue your work, keep these observations in mind so you can be sure to reach out to all groups in your community.

Resources for finding community information
The town hall or clerk’s office in your community might have data on what kinds of people are in the community.

Look up your community using one of these online resources:

American FactFinder is a Census Bureau tool that offers statistics on different areas of the country. You can view the available Census data (including the American Community or other available survey’s) for your town. This data may be older. There is “Guided Search” feature that allows you to look in depth at available data.

DiversityData lets you customize reports with the specific information you’re looking for. You can print or email them and convert them to a PDF document. The information is only available for large metropolitan areas.

ZipSkinny offers a simple layout of Census Bureau results with a quick search of a zip code. You can view the results in chart form or compare zip codes.   

County Business & Demographic Map is interactive and lets you explore different types of statistics throughout the U.S. Choose the statistics you’re interested in such as race, ethnicity, population, housing status, etc., search any county, city, etc., and compare it with another location.

About Everyday Democracy
Everyday Democracy
Everyday Democracy (formerly called the Study Circles Resource Center) is a project of The Paul J. Aicher Foundation, a private operating foundation dedicated to strengthening deliberative democracy and improving the quality of public life in the United States. Since our founding in 1989, we’ve worked with hundreds of communities across the United States on issues such as: racial equity, poverty reduction and economic development, education reform, early childhood development and building strong neighborhoods. We work with national, regional and state organizations in order to leverage our resources and to expand the reach and impact of civic engagement processes and tools.

Follow on Twitter: @EvDem

Resource Link: http://everyday-democracy.org/resources/activity-explore-community-demographics

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