Why focus on the these three?
Positive change in peoples’ lives is directly linked to improvement in education, health and financial security. These are three primary drivers of change toward prosperity. Both research and results-based best practices show us that improving the quality of life for all Waco residents requires looking beyond a single data point or a single sector to the interrelated nature of these three.
The city’s economy has continued to grow over the last few years including home sales, hotel revenue, retail spending, and employment according to the Greater Waco Economic Index. However, financial security for all Waco residents is still of concern. According to the recent ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) study, over 38,000 McLennan County families struggle to afford basic living costs, such as health insurance, quality child care, and reliable transportation. This income insecurity is a contributing factor to both the overall health and education levels of Waco area residents.
We also see disparate outcomes in many measures of health including obesity rates and access to care. Even life expectancy can vary 10 years from East Waco to West Waco.
Within McLennan County, 18 public school districts and three charter schools strive to provide a high-quality education for children from early childhood through high school. Students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds are concentrated within six districts who serve 82% of those students: China Spring ISD, Connally ISD, La Vega ISD, Midway ISD, Robinson ISD, and Waco ISD. Students who are economically disadvantaged face more challenges. In fact, of all the students who were in 8th grade in McLennan County, only 15% of the economically disadvantaged students graduated from an institution of higher education in 2018.
This report is a “one-stop shop” for residents, organizations, employers and others to learn about the history of the Prosper Waco initiative, efforts addressing the community’s goals, key partners advancing the work of the initiative and the opportunities for residents and organizations to get involved in improving overall quality of life in our community.