How Delaware Compares is a partnership effort between the University of Delaware and the Delaware Public Policy Institute (DPPI). The links below provide detailed information regarding the data and methodologies employed.
Selection of Indicators
Previous How Delaware Compares editions served as a template for the selection of the broad categories and specific indicators included in this updated version. The project team revised the list of categories and indicators based on the availability of data and the relevance of particular categories and indicators.
The final step in the indicator-selection process involved the project team refining the list of indicators in coordination with the identified University of Delaware subject experts. The goal of this process was to compile a list of indicators for each category that drew upon reliable, regularly updated data sources and collectively spoke to the standing of Delaware, and the other states, on broad topics and specific items within those topics.
In a few instances a secondary data source, State Rankings, was used to provide indicators for the report. With these exceptions noted, the majority of the data for the indicators was directly collected or processed by the organization listed as the source.
Transparency and ease of replication were two factors that influenced the selection of data sources. To avoid the need for lengthy explanations of data, relatively raw indicators, such as per capita income or unemployment rate, were selected over more elaborate and processed indices, such as the often-cited New Economy Index.
Transparent data sources are desirable so that readers can understand the meaning of Delaware’s rank on a particular indicator, and future researchers can replicate this report’s approach and track changes in Delaware’s relative standing.
Reliance on regularly updated data is perhaps the most important factor allowing for replication of this report. In selecting data sources, items reliably updated on an annual basis, or more frequently, were given preference for inclusion over those updated on a more sporadic basis.
For more information about the data sources from which the indicators were derived, please contact the Center for Applied Business and Economics Research.
Limitations of the Data
Our approach is to present the best available data on a subject. There are limitations even with using best available data. Because of statistical sampling procedures or even in an entire count of a population there are bound to be errors. In large measure, however, the figures in this report result from organizations familiar with survey and sampling techniques, likely minimizing errors of this type.
Next, data are collected at a particular point in time and, in some cases, may become out of date in short order. For instance, employment data is released monthly and data covering periods this short may be particularly useful during times of significant economic stress. It should also be noted that data collected for this report are not all from the same year—caution should be exercised when bundling indicators from various years to support an argument. An additional limitation is that some of the rankings presented in this report are not normalized by a state’s population size or the size of its economy.