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Regional Data Updated in Benchmarks Northwest

The Northwest Michigan Council of Governments (NWMCOG) has updated a citizen and policy makers' guide to assess and monitor issues in the region. Benchmarks Northwest provides easy access to nearly four hundred indicators related to quality of life in northwest lower Michigan. 

“Data are an important part of decision-making. They provide individuals, non-profits, businesses, and local units of government indicators relevant to their operations or interests,” said Matt McCauley, director of regional planning and community development at NWMCOG.

The Benchmarks Northwest indicators are compiled from more than 30 different data sources and are broken down in to eight areas of interest: Culture and Recreation, Economy and Employment, Education, Government, Health, Infrastructure, Natural Resources and Environment, and Population Dynamics. Each interest area has a regional report comprised of various indicators geared toward that issue.

"Any one individual or organization would have to invest a large amount of time and effort to compile the information they'll find in one location with Benchmarks Northwest,” said McCauley.

Benchmarks Northwest only uses data that are reported annually. The updated indicators are "benchmarked" to the year 2000 and are also compared to the year prior to the reporting year. The benchmark year will be updated to 2010 in coming editions as data permits.

“Regional data available on an annual basis are important to businesses and organizations when they're working on grant applications, annual reports, or business strategies,” said McCauley.

For more information, please contact Michelle Foster at the NWMCOG at 929-5039 or


Benchmarks Northwest is the topic of discussion on WTCM-FM as Jack O'Malley and Colleen Wares interview Matt McCauley, Director of Regional Planning at Northwest Michigan Council of Governments.


Access Benchmarks Northwest

Click to access Benchmarks Northwest here on the NWMCOG website at:




Networks Northwest always proves to be a valued resource for our local government planning efforts. No organization does a better job of convening partners, promoting collaboration, and reporting on the data than does Networks Northwest

Ty Wessell, Leelanau County Commissioner