NWA Community Indicators

The Northwest Arkansas Community Indicators Project is a prime example of the type of comprehensive evaluation of community needs that the Community and Family Institute is interested in helping to develop and execute. The goal of this project has been to stimulate dialogue about developing issues in the region and to encourage informed strategies for shaping future policies and effective actions.

This project was a collaborative effort between the University of Arkansas’ Community and Family Institute, the Northwest Arkansas Community Foundation, and the United Way of Northwest Arkansas. This report would not have been possible without funding from the Walton Family Foundation. In addition, the continued funding of the Community and Family Institute through the Jones Trust Fund has been instrumental to this effort.

Northwest Arkansas has experienced considerable transformation in its soft infrastructure (demography, health, education, arts, civic engagement, etc.) over the last thirty years. The changes occurring in Northwest Arkansas have created a number of significant challenges that the region must acknowledge and address head-on, but certainly not all the changes have had a negative effect. The region’s metamorphosis has invigorated communities throughout the area and created a tremendous set of social, economic, and cultural opportunities.

The intent of this quality of life report is two-fold. First, is to provide the people of Northwest Arkansas with an empirically grounded understanding of the changes taking place in their communities and the consequences of those changes. The second is to serve as a resource for citizens, service providers, and other stakeholders as they discuss the region’s challenges, build upon its successes, and plan for its future. A regional approach that examines, in detail, the quality of life in the four counties of Northwest Arkansas (Benton, Carroll, Madison, and Washington), is the report’s focus. Focusing on life in these four counties forces one to ask big questions that transcend jurisdictional boundaries.