Skip to main content

A Tale of Two Counties

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, …” Well, OK, maybe it’s not the best of times here in Arden Arcade, beset with the pandemic as we are. But if we’re thinking along the lines of Charles Dickens’ great book, let’s at least consider the wisdom and foolishness part of his famous opener. You see, we’re not the only ones to mention the confusing way Sacramento County reports Covid-19 data. Community leaders in Arden Arcade and Rio Linda Elverta have even written to the County to ask that the UnCity data be reported at a finer level of detail than one big lump. It’s probably an unproductive exercise, as it’s a fairly sure bet that when the County responds (if it DOES respond) there will be a sad song of woe about how dreadful the workload is and how sky high the costs would be to inform residents about what is happening in their neck of the woods.

But, wait! It turns out that Los Angeles County has done it. Yes, THAT Los Angeles County - the unwieldy, bumbling, behemoth bureaucracy far to our south. Los Angeles County’s Covid Dashboard reports data for 331 subareas - cities, city neighborhoods AND unincorporated areas in the County (except for Pasadena and Long Beach, which have their own reporting systems). In fact, LA County reports data on 107 separate unincorporated areas! The most populated of their unincorporated areas has over 125,000 residents; the smallest has just 1. You can probably see the utility of that kind of data reporting, can’t you? But not here, where the finest grain of detail is reporting by zip code, something that doesn’t tell you much because a) zip codes can be big/diverse and b) zip codes do not correspond with city and unincorporated community boundaries. When it comes to specificity, Sacramento County sweats bullets just to tell the public about data from a whopping total of 8 places: 7 cities plus the entire UnCity. How does the Covid-19 problem in, say, Carmichael, compare with the situation in Orangevale or Galt? The public can’t really tell. Yet, while Sacramento County’s dashboard covers 8 locations, LA County’s handles 331. And that means you can get a much better picture of what’s going on in LA than you can here. Wisdom or foolishness? You decide.

May contain: word
A screenshot of the interactive map of LA County’s 331 subareas for which the County reports data, showing unincorporated Florence-Firestone (pop. 64,705) just west of unincorporated Walnut Park (pop. 16,143). The County reports Covid-19 data and demographics for each of the subareas.
Join our mailing list