Springfield is in Need
Want a better idea of the crucial needs we're addressing? Consider some City facts and other data Springfield Community Gardens contributors gathered during a SWOT analysis* in Grant Beach, the first neighborhood we've helped.
Current City Data
Springfield, MO is a mid-sized town with 164,122 people and an estimated population growth of 2.9% since 2010.1 In many ways, Springfield does have a vibrant economy and strong employment figures, as the unemployment rate of 4.9% indicates.2 Unfortunately, it is not all good news for Springfield—our community is facing extreme poverty. Twenty-five percent of the population lives below the Federal Poverty Level,3 and Springfield is the only metro area in Missouri the Department for Housing and Urban Development has given the designation “severe fiscal distress.”4
Greene County ranks 38th in health outcomes and 15thhealth factors out of 115 counties in Missouri.5 Chronic disease is a significant public health issue. From 2007-2011 eight of the leading ten causes of death in Greene County result from chronic disease. In 2011, heart disease alone was the cause of 32.5% of all deaths in Greene County and it listed as a contributing factor in 51.4% of all deaths. Heart Disease and other related conditions (e.g. stroke, hypertension) accounted for 39% of all chronic disease related emergency room visits made by Greene County residents in 2011.6
1. Census Bureau, 2013
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 2015
3. Census Bureau, American Communities Survey, 2009-2013
4. Department for Housing and Urban Development
5. County Health Rankings, 2015
6. Springfield-Greene County Community Health Assessment, 2014
In the fall of 2010, Missouri State University urban planning students performed a SWOT analysis study and conducted personal interviews in the Grant Beach neighborhood. Through that analysis, they gathered the following data:
- Recent census records pinpoint a concentrated area of single mothers living below the poverty level.
- Studying the Weaver Elementary lunch program showed a 94.95% participation rate in the free lunch program and an 86.5% participation rate in the reduced lunch program.
- The high rate of children participating in the free- and reduced-lunch programs indicates residents may need help providing food for their families.
- Volunteers became concerned when they discovered that often the meal prepared during summer cooking classes for neighborhood children—at a facility the Springfield Park Board had provided—was the only meal the children were able to eat each day.
*All facts gathered in the fall of 2010, when Missouri State University urban planning students performed a SWOT analysis study and conducted personal interviews in the Grant Beach neighborhood.