Use of Demographic Analysis in Social Planning

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  • 0:00 Healthy Communities
  • 1:01 Social Planning
  • 3:03 Social Planning and…
  • 5:27 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

Fixing community issues is never easy, but there are tools that can help. Explore the relationship between social planning and demographics and test your understanding with a brief quiz.

Healthy Communities

How healthy is your community? What, you didn't know that communities could be sick? Well, they can. Granted, not in the same way that we can, but still, communities develop their own issues and problems. Poor economy, potholes, homelessness, potholes, lack of healthy restaurants. Potholes. I really hate potholes. The point is, in order to be a healthy, functioning community, you need to address these issues. You need community doctors. You need social planning, the process of evaluating issues, allocating resources, and creating solutions. However, this just doesn't happen by itself. It requires a lot of work and a lot of data about your community, and that means a demographic analysis, or a review of population statistics. With these, you can get to finding and fixing problems. And potholes.

Social Planning

Okay, let's just get the idea out of the way that social planners have anything to do with the events calendars of the rich and famous. That's not what we're talking about here. In terms of healthy communities, social planning is the process of evaluating issues, allocating resources, and creating solutions. In essence, it is the system for fixing problems in a community. First, problems are identified and brought to everyone's attention. Then, people prioritize them, raise the money, and fix the problem. That's a somewhat simplified schedule, but in essence that's the goal - to identify the problems and create practical solutions.

And who's involved in this? Well, the community! Social planning generally requires lots of participation, from bringing issues to the city's attention to raising money. However, there are leaders to this process as well. Community leaders, like mayors or town council members, often take charge, but outside help can also be found in professional city planners, sociologists, and community organizers.

So, say that the people of this town want to improve their community's well being. First, they identify the issues and prioritize the one they want to fix. Let's say they decide fixing potholes will improve access to downtown, which will help the local economy, create jobs, and make the town more appealing for new restaurants. They have their issue, now they need to raise support. This could come from community education, fundraising, campaigns, public forums, or maybe even appealing to activist groups. But eventually, they raise awareness, get people to vote for taxes to pay for road maintenance, and petition the town government to make this a top priority. The potholes are fixed, the community is healthy, and everyone goes home happy!

Social Planning and Demographics

So, that's it, right? That's social planning. Well, not quite. You see, while everyone was bustling around, raising awareness and doing their part, there was another group in the background, the unsung heroes of city planning without whom this whole process would just be a mess - demographers.

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