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QUALITY OF LIFE INDEX // Our times as told by statistics

Percentage of Hillsborough County adults who said in a 1992 survey that they expect the quality of life in Hillsborough to improve in the near future: 46

Percentage of Hillsborough adults who said in a 1996 survey that they expect the quality of life in Hillsborough to improve in the near future: 30.5

Increase in retail sales, in percent, nationwide, Thanksgiving weekend 1995 compared to Thanksgiving weekend 1996: +4.3

Increase in retail sales, in percent, statewide, Thanksgiving weekend 1995 compared to Thanksgiving weekend 1996: +2.4

Increase in retail sales, in percent, in Tampa, Thanksgiving weekend 1995 compared to Thanksgiving weekend 1996: +2.6

Decrease in retail sales, in percent, in Tampa, November 1995 to November 1996: -1.8

Rank of Hillsborough County among all 3,151 counties in the U.S. in the number of acres of strawberries harvested for sale: 5th

Increase, in feet, in the average level of lakes _ a key indicator of long-term hydrological trends _ around the Tampa Bay area from June to October: +.14

Number of feet during October that lake levels in Tampa Bay were above the lowest level that lakes should reach during a year of normal rainfall: +.28

Number of new houses and other residences that received building permits in Hillsborough County in July, August and September of 1995: 1,616

Number of new homes permitted in Hillsborough in the same three months of this year: 2,431

Sources for Quality of Life Index, 1B

Quality of Life: "Hillsborough Tomorrow, Today Vision, Tomorrow Reality: The Hillsborough County Benchmarks Report," a December 1996 report produced jointly by the Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission and the University of South Florida Center of Design and Research. The report is modeled on a similar statewide report and is designed to measure Hillsborough's status in seven different areas. The information in it was gathered from Oct. 1 to Dec. 1, 1996.

Retail spending: TeleCheck Services Inc. of Houston, the world's largest check acceptance company. The TeleCheck Retail Index is based on a year-over-year, same-store comparison of the dollar volume of authorized checks written by consumers at more than 20,000 of TeleCheck's 160,000 subscribing locations. Checks account for more than a third of retail spending.

Hillsborough agriculture: "The Contribution of Agribusiness to Hillsborough County, Florida," September 1996 report prepared for the Hillsborough County Agricultural Task Force by Farming for the Future Inc., of Boca Raton. The report's project director and writer was Craig Evans, and its researcher and analyst was Jean McGuire.

Lake levels: Water Management Monthly, November 1996, a publication of the Southwest Florida Water Management District.

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