Community Data Platforms Presents to Civic Association Long Range Planning Committee

R. Michael Brown  |  Civic Association  |  Our Town  |  February 15, 2019

How many people live in the Town of Palm Beach?  It’s one of the first questions Palm Beacher’s are asked.

The last American Community Survey Data in 2017 pegged the population at 8,593 in 4,771 households.

What is the in-season population in town?  Estimates range from 10,000 to 30,000.

How many visitors are here on any given day during the season and off-season? Nobody knows.  Where do they come from? Many have anecdotal feelings about where but nobody has the data to prove it.

That’s where a company like Community Data Platforms comes in.

The company started when they wanted the same answers for Nantucket.  The U.S. Census from 2010 showed the population there was 11,200.  The Town Clerk Catherine Stover estimated upwards of 20,000 to 25,000.

Nantucket Data Platform was formed to get the answers, did the research, and found that Nantucket’s permanent population is 17,200.

But its data researchers didn’t stop there. They went on to estimate “with high confidence,” founder Alan Worden said, the “effective population,” the number of people on the island at any given time of the year, including seasonal residents (11,000), seasonal workers (6,590), commuters (365 a day) and the peak summer population: Boston Pops weekend in August, when it estimates there were 46,580 people on the island.

The estimates were arrived at by pulling data from tax assessor’s and voting records, transportation counts, and even cell-phone records to estimate the commuting workforce.

Their purpose is to help local leaders, nonprofits, and businesses make better informed decisions about issues impacting the community.

After the success of Nantucket Data Platform, Mr. Worden formed Community Data Platform to help other communities understand the demographics and psychographics of their towns.  It’s done trough research and data analytics.

Because the Civic Association’s Long Range Planning Committee is looking toward the future, committee members thought it would be a good idea to know a baseline of data about the Town of Palm Beach population.  Committee member and Civic Association Director Suzanne Frisbie knows Community Data Platform so she suggested a presentation from Mr. Worden to the committee.

“One of its first tasks is to come up with a reliable population estimate, which should serve as the baseline of any sound municipal and business planning strategy,” Mr. Worden said, “And could translate directly into increased federal and state revenue for the town.”

“People in Palm Beach have to make really important decisions, and the strong sense I get, the gratifying sense I get, is that in government, in business, and nonprofits, they want to make smart decisions, and they are really uncomfortable when there is no data resource,” he said. “Some of this stuff is really basic, but in order to make smart decisions, you have to know the basic data. To a certain extent, that’s what we do. Our goal is to provide a go-to resource to help people understand their community better.”

To see the whole presentation, watch the video above.

 

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