Quality of Life/Sustainability Indicators

Quality of Life

The 21st Century Council believes that all members of our Tallahassee-Leon County community deserve to have a quality of life that provides them the opportunities for good health, productive work and meaningful relationships. This belief is grounded in the desire to help all people develop and maintain themselves as independent, self-sufficient and contributing citizens.

In order to accomplish this goal, the 21st Century Council takes a holistic approach to a person’s continual development. We recognize that physical, intellectual, emotional, social and moral/spiritual aspects of individuals in our society must be addressed both as important outcomes for each person and as gaps between where we are and where we would like to be as a community.

The 21st Century Council maintains the Quality of Life focus for all its work as a way for individuals and decision makers to benchmark their efforts to help those with needs for assistance in our community. Cognizant of important and measurable outcomes, policies and practices can be selected by decision-makers to empower our community members to be active, strong, participating and giving people who help make our greater Tallahassee area such a special place live in.


Although Sustainability has been a catch-all phrase applied to a variety of social, economic and environmental areas, the use by the 21st Century Council is simple. To us, Sustainability means we are able to make a positive difference in people’s lives when measured over time. This values research and data that look over several years to see trends, best practices that have evidence of cost/benefit effectiveness and policies that enhance rather than limit individual growth and development.

Four areas have been identified to help focus the 21st Century Council’s consideration of Sustainable Quality of Life Outcomes. These include:


A sustainable population is one that continues to grow and nurture happy, healthy and contributing members. Education, recreation, health care, safety, culture and the arts all help individuals and groups continue to grow in ways that make them better citizens as well as better family members.

  • Demographics
  • Education
  • Health
  • Culture and Leisure


HTML clipboard Sustainable prosperity includes individual, family and community economic development and success that support the stability of our daily living. Most people want to work at jobs that are meaningful and contribute to meeting their personal and family needs and desires. Most community basic services can only be met when the local economy is functioning well and growing. Prosperity is essential for all citizens who are willing to be part of the community’s economy.

  • Business
  • Families
  • Housing
  • Transportation


The natural environment has most often been associated with Sustainability as a growing population puts more demands on natural and man-made resources. Affordable food and housing and the individual level, waste and growth management at the community level and energy and climate on the national and international stage are increasing in importance. Protecting our people and our planet will require the attention of all our citizens.

  • Utilities
  • Environment
  • Land Use

Peace & Justice

There is no progress in a community’s Quality of Life without a sense of equity and fairness that includes all members of society. Good government depends on active citizen engagement. Social welfare depends on personal responsibility and neighbors helping neighbors. Conflict resolution depends upon tolerance and understanding. Public safety depends on share responsibility and accountability. Our community is rich with many caring individuals, groups and congregations. Working together toward the common goal of a better quality of life for ourselves and all our neighbors is essential to society’s continued success.

  • Civic / Government
  • Social / Welfare
  • Public Safety

Community Indicators

One of the first publications of the 21st Century Council was a Quality of Life Report in 1991. Since then a number of data reports highlighted indicators of areas for concern as well as community progress. The measures themselves were reviewed several times over the last 20 years to reflect data sources that could be examined in multi-year formats and could give a picture of the status of key aspects of Quality of Life in our community.

With limited resources and a desire to broaden the accessibility of interested citizens to Quality of Life data, the online approach to community indicators has changed. The 21st Century Council will maintain a list of indicators, updated annually, with links to relevant sources of the most current data. Community members will be encouraged to contribute to the selection of indicators and reliable data sources.

A more substantive analysis of priority or high interest indicators will be encouraged in a new section called Community Indicators Mini-Studies. Individuals and groups will be invited to contribute their research and analysis skills to these areas. A standard format will be followed: a description of the indicator and its importance; a graph and analysis of multi-year data; a summary of current community efforts; a summary of national and international best practices; and policy or other action recommendations. These brief studies from students, individuals, groups or organizations in the community will be posted on the 21st Century Council and other web sites. It is hoped they will be used to support conversations about strategies and policy decisions that can positively impact an aspect of our community’s Quality of Life.

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