Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Graham A. Tobin, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Robert Brinkmann, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jayajit Chakraborty, Ph.D.


social indicator, territorial indicator, composite index, HDI, choropleth


This thesis uses the United Nations Human Development Index as a model for comparing a selected set of socioeconomic indicators across Florida’s sixty-seven counties. Whether for urban planning, hazards mitigation, transportation forecasting, or other county-level and state-level functions, information and understanding of socioeconomic conditions are keys to efficient planning and policy making, both in the early development stages as well as during implementation. A summary overview of socioeconomic well-being and its distribution across a given area offers a distinct advantage in terms of deciding where planning or policy changes are most needed and where they will prove most beneficial.

This thesis takes a well-established and well documented index used for examining and comparing human development in nations across the globe, and modifies it for comparing county-level socioeconomic conditions across Florida. The results from this modified index are then displayed using choropleth maps as an aid to location interpretation of the ranked socioeconomic values, thereby providing a spatial context for the indexing.

In the end, this thesis seeks to answer whether or not the modified index model is a suitable one for normalizing, aggregating, and ranking county-level socioeconomic data for Florida, and whether the use of choropleth mapping to display the rankings is a viable choice.