Szt1 Community Assessment Essay

1790 words - 8 pages

Pierce County, WA Community Assessment
Western Governors University

Pierce County, WA Community Assessment
Community Description and Data Interpretation
Pierce County is situated in the central west of Washington State. The county is divided by Puget Sound, with the majority of the land to the east of the major waterway. There are several small islands included in the county that are located near the southern edge of the Sound. At the county’s eastern border, the beginnings of foothills lead to the actively volcanic Mount Rainier’s summit. Many parts of the county today are built upon the deposits of lahar from past eruptions. The geography of Pierce county ranges from a ...view middle of the document...

With this level of education, it’s surprising that the median household income is only $58,824 (U.S. Census Bureau, ). Despite an increase in businesses in the area since the recession of 2008, 11.6% of the population remains at or below the poverty line. This is actually an increase from 2008 when 8.1% of the total population was determined to be in poverty. Unemployment has also increased by more than two-fold with it now being at 9.6% (U.S. Census Bureau).
These upward trending numbers paint a grim picture for the county; however, there has been a noted decrease in homelessness over recent years. According to the Pierce County Homeless Survey of 2012, there are currently 1,997 homeless men, women, and children. Not surprisingly, many of these households report low income or loss of a job as the main reason for their homelessness. The homeless population includes a high percentage of minorities in relation to the demographics of the overall population – indicating a probable disparity between races when it comes to wealth. Pierce County has many agencies in place to provide aid to the homeless community. In fact, 90% of the homeless stated they had some form of shelter or temporary housing (Pierce County Community Connections, 2013).
Cultural Assessment
Pierce County has slightly more women than men, and the majority of its population is white Judeo-Christian. There exists, however, an Asian/Pacific Islander subculture. Approximately one tenth of the current population was born in a foreign culture. The majority of these foreign-born residents came from Asian or the Pacific Islands – the majority coming from Korea and the Philippines. The next largest group of immigrants is from Latin America, and a second Hispanic/Latino subculture does exist, though it is not quite as prominent. Twelve percent of the population reported that they do not speak English as a second language, and a total of 3% do not speak English proficiently (City-data, 2012). The most common non-English languages, predictably, are Spanish and Asian/Pacific Islander languages including Korean, Filipino, and Punjabi (U.S. Census Bureau). There is also a large military presence in the area. Joint Base Lewis-McChord is located within the county, and the bases have a population of approximately 34000 (Pierce County Department Of Emergency Management, 2010). These military personnel often come from out-of-state, and many choose to stay in the area after finishing their military obligations. Though the population remains predominately white, these subcultures lend diversity to the community.
Neighborhood/Safety Assessment
Pierce County has a mild climate, and it is not at a high risk for most weather concerns. The geography of the county, however, does impart several risks. The close vicinity of Mount Rainier causes a significant risk of life and property damage from lahars should the volcano erupt again. Pierce’s multiple bodies of water – there are 361 lakes larger than...

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