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Community Assessment Guide: Identifying Community Features, Demographics & Resources

Information for the Community Assessment assignment found in Module 5 of NP700: The Role of the Nurse Practitioner.

Community Identification and Features

Spend time exploring the identity of your community from several perspectives. Look at your community from the point of view of the following perspectives and subsequent content areas.

Geography and topography elevation, landforms, terrain, bodies of water
Economic foundation major industries and largest employers
Infrastructure available transportation, major roadways, airports
Education public school districts and schools, higher education institutions

Below is a list of recommended resources for exploring your community's identity and features:

In addition to these national resources, you will want to look at the state level for websites for:

  • Department of Labor or Workforce
  • Department of Transportation
  • Department of Education
  • State Parks or Tourism

Likewise, you will want to look at the local level for information on:

  • economic development agencies
  • chamber of commerce
  • school districts
  • colleges or universities

Population Demographics

You will want to spend some time exploring some very basic and specific population demographics from one of the U.S. Census Bureau databases. Explore and collect the following demographics for:

  1. your community
  2. your state
  3. the United States
Total population
Age range statistics
Gender statistics
Race statistics
Foreign-born statistics
Population growth or decline

As you collect data, try to collect like years if at all possible for each statistical comparison, make note if it is estimate data, and use the proper data identifiers or subgroups referenced in your source. For example, if you want to know the price of a dozen eggs from three grocery stores, it will only really do you any good if you compare prices obtained about the same time. If you have a price from one store from 2000, another from 2008, and the third price from 2015, you can't really make any type of decision as to the significance of your data.


Use the U.S. Census Bureau website to research and explore the above listed demographics of your community

There are several databases within the U.S. Census Bureau website. In particular, you will want to look at these:

Community Resources and Workforce

For your community assessment, you will want to spend some time researching the following data to describe your community's health resources and workforce.

Health Services

Health and community services to meet needs of general and vulnerable populations, hospitals, community health centers/primary care clinics, mental health services, services for children, services for the elderly, services for the homeless, services for the medically indigent, drug treatment services, hospice services, services for evening and weekend healthcare.

Health Workforce

What type and how many providers working in your community-Include NPs, MDs and PA's, others if you desire. You will likely need to use multiple sources to compile a report on this information. Is your community a designated Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) (for primary care, dental or mental health) or a Medically Underserved Area (MUA)?

Use the following links to research and explore health services resources in your community.

You will also want to find information from your state department of health and your state agency for children's services. If you don't already know their name or web address, the links below may help.

Use these links to find information about the health workforce in your community.

In addition to the resources linked, you'll need to search for other organizations that are local or relevant to your area:

  • state licensing board
  • professional organizations
  • hospital, healthcare, and community services websites
  • local chamber of commerce
  • nonprofit or religious organization websites

Internet searching

About Internet searches for this section:

If you are conducting an internet search to find certain types of services, the search itself is not cited or referenced. The search itself is not what you cite, rather you will cite the information you find. Look at this APA Style Blog post on the subject. The exception is if you are wanting to report solely the results you found in a Google search you would say something like,  "A Google search for primary care clinics in Leslie county resulted in 5 results." Please note that for this assignment, you need to go beyond this simple statement. You need to attempt to substantiate the resources by more than what is simply hit upon by a Google search.  Do the best you can to substantiate that a service is available and in existence before you count it as a viable service. Look for websites or call to see if the service is actually open for business etc.