Graduation Year

2006

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Geography

Major Professor

Graham A. Tobin, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Robert Brinkmann, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jayajit Chakraborty, Ph.D.

Keywords

social indicator, territorial indicator, composite index, HDI, choropleth

Abstract

This thesis uses the United Nations Human Development Index as a model for comparing a selected set of socioeconomic indicators across Florida’s sixty-seven counties. Whether for urban planning, hazards mitigation, transportation forecasting, or other county-level and state-level functions, information and understanding of socioeconomic conditions are keys to efficient planning and policy making, both in the early development stages as well as during implementation. A summary overview of socioeconomic well-being and its distribution across a given area offers a distinct advantage in terms of deciding where planning or policy changes are most needed and where they will prove most beneficial.

This thesis takes a well-established and well documented index used for examining and comparing human development in nations across the globe, and modifies it for comparing county-level socioeconomic conditions across Florida. The results from this modified index are then displayed using choropleth maps as an aid to location interpretation of the ranked socioeconomic values, thereby providing a spatial context for the indexing.

In the end, this thesis seeks to answer whether or not the modified index model is a suitable one for normalizing, aggregating, and ranking county-level socioeconomic data for Florida, and whether the use of choropleth mapping to display the rankings is a viable choice.

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