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Reality Check

Reality Check is a new section written and managed by Alex Gary, communications manager for Thinker Ventures. Alex specializes in digging up truthful, relevant and raw statistics. Thanks Alex for taking time to put this together!

Visit the Transformation Map to view transformational project(s) aimed at tackling these reality checks.

Reality Check
By Alex Gary / October 8, 2017

Rockford’s economic growth was sluggish in 2016

The Gross Domestic Product of the Rockford metropolitan area grew 1.7 percent to $14.8 billion in 2016, according to stats...

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Reality Check
By Alex Gary / September 17, 2017

Forbes: Top colleges of the Midwest 2017

This past week Forbes released its annual list of best colleges. There are a number of these types of rankings....

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Reality Check
By Alex Gary / September 15, 2017

Can Rockford Promise lift future students out of college debt?

Rockford is in the bottom quartile of the United States when it comes to its college graduates struggling with education...

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Reality Check
By Alex Gary / September 4, 2017

Home building index shows how far Rockford economy has to go

The Rockford-area economy still is far from a full recovery, according to a quarterly economic index created by the National...

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Reality Check
By Alex Gary / September 3, 2017

Light exhibit at Nicholas recognized as one of the best new museum exhibits

One of the newest attractions in the Rockford area was recognized along with exhibits at some of the biggest name...

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Reality Check
By Alex Gary / August 27, 2017

Eliminating home mortgage deduction would have little local effect

The home mortgage interest deduction is in peril if President Trump's tax reform plan ever becomes law, but a look...

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Reality Check
By Alex Gary / August 16, 2017

Education researchers give District 205 improving marks

The Rockford School District always is at the center of any conversation about Transforming Rockford. The most recent Illinois State...

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Reality Check
By Alex Gary / August 3, 2017

New database reveals what’s in your water

The Environmental Working Group on July 26 released a public database on drinking water. The group analyzed more than 30...

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Reality Check
By Alex Gary / August 1, 2017

Quickly changing retail industry will force changes in Rockford-area thinking

A story in Time Magazine this month highlighted a trend that should be concerning city and county leaders across the...

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Reality Check
By Alex Gary / July 19, 2017

Rockford is a pretty good driving town

According to insurance giant Allstate, Rockford is one of the 50 best cities in the United States when it comes...

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Reality Check
By Alex Gary / June 22, 2017

Rockford region among 100 fastest growing in real personal income

ROCKFORD - The real personal per capita income of the Rockford metropolitan area grew 4.4 percent from 2014 to 2015,...

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Reality Check
By Alex Gary / June 20, 2017

Jobs boom missing Rockford area

SPRINGFIELD – The United States has been on a steady climb since the Great Recession wiped out careers and savings...

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Reality Check
By Alex Gary / May 31, 2017

Property owners don’t mind taxes – as long as they are getting value

Of all the issues facing Rockford, property taxes is perhaps the most complex. According to tax-rates.org, the median property tax...

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Reality Check
By Alex Gary / May 17, 2017

Want to live longer? Grow the economy

A groundbreaking study released earlier this month showed income inequality leads to life expectancy inequality. According to the Institute for...

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By Alex Gary / April 30, 2017

Economic data stands out when Rockford compared with top cities

  Transform Rockford's Jacob Wilson sent Reality Check a link to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago's site, Peer Cities...

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Reality Check
By Alex Gary / April 19, 2017

Winnebago County rankings improve – very slightly

The health of Winnebago County's residents improved compared with the rest of the state in 2016 - by the slightest...

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Reality Check
By Alex Gary / April 16, 2017

Winnebago County bucking trend on Social Security

Entitlement reform always is a popular topic in Washington D.C., no more so when a new administration takes over. Social...

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Reality Check
By Alex Gary / March 16, 2017

Rockford still top 100 in labor productivity – but growth is stagnating

The Rockford metropolitan workforce was one of the 100 most productive in the United States in 2015, according to an...

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Reality Check
By Alex Gary / March 11, 2017

Rockford makes a ‘beautiful’ list

Creators of lists and rankings typically haven't been too kind to Rockford the past couple of decades. This week, the...

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Reality Check
By Alex Gary / March 7, 2017

Lack of community pride drags down Rockford’s ‘well-being’

ROCKFORD – The Rockford area ranked 178th out of 189 metro areas studied for “well-being,” according to surveys conducted over...

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Reality Check
By Alex Gary / March 4, 2017

Rockford-area communities rank poorly in money management

Money management is a classic chicken-or-the egg question. Are people who earn higher salaries inherently better with handling money versus...

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Reality Check
By Alex Gary / February 27, 2017

Choosing civility

On Thursday, March 2, Rev. Jeffrey Brown is leading a community conversation on civility for Transform Rockford at Crusader Community...

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Reality Check
By Alex Gary / February 23, 2017

College enrollment rising faster than readiness

In 2014, the Illinois State Board of began tracking and publishing in its yearly scorecards the percentage of students who...

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Reality Check
By Alex Gary / February 21, 2017

Red-hot housing market finished 2016 strong

After years of disturbingly drastic declines in home prices, the Winnebago County housing market had its 10th straight quarter of...

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Reality Check
By Alex Gary / February 9, 2017

Planning out 2017? Look to Trip Advisor

Whenever I'm in a new city, if I'm going to stop to eat, I look on Trip Advisor to see...

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Reality Check
By Alex Gary / January 24, 2017

Rockford makes international affordability ranking

The Rockford area has long been known to be one of the most affordable housing markets in the United States....

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Reality Check
By Alex Gary / January 19, 2017

In one respect, the Great Recession has yet to end in Rockford

Economists use all kinds of metrics to measure the economic health of a region. And in every aspect, the Rockford-area...

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Reality Check
By Alex Gary / January 18, 2017

Rockford not immune from distressing suicide trend

With still two months of coroners inquests to complete, Winnebago County already set a depressing record in 2016 - teen...

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Reality Check
By Alex Gary / December 29, 2016

Rockford incomes above the curve in 2015

ROCKFORD – Rockford-area residents snapped a depressing streak in 2015, for the first time since 2009 the per-capita personal income...

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Reality Check
By Alex Gary / December 23, 2016

Rockford economy in transition

A recent report on the Milken Institute Best-Performing Cities Index generated positive headlines for Rockford earlier this month. In its...

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Reality Check
By Alex Gary / December 19, 2016

Rockford ranks poorly in diabetes rankings

The latest report in the Gallup-Healthways State of American Well-Being series should ring alarm bells across the area – in...

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Reality Check
By transformrockford / November 6, 2016

Rising ACT scores lone positive for District 205 on annualrr report cards

Rising ACT scores lone positive for District 205 on annualrr report cards Rockford School District students had their highest aggregate...

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