navigation logo navigation logo

Glossary of Terms

Terms Definition
ACT (American College Testing) A standardized test used for college admissions in the United States. It is currently administered by ACT, a nonprofit organization of the same name. The ACT test covers four academic skill areas: English, mathematics, reading, and scientific reasoning. It also offers an optional direct writing test.
Average Meal Cost The average weekly dollar amount food-secure individuals spending on food divided by 21 (assuming three meals a day, seven days a weeks). This amount has been adjusted to reflect local food prices and relevant taxes.
Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) The nation’s premier system of health-related surveys that collect state data about U.S. residents regarding their health-related risk behaviors, chronic health conditions, and use of preventive services.
Census Block Group A statistical subdivision of a census tract, generally defined to contain between 600 and 3,000 people and 240 and 1,200 housing units, and the smallest geographic unit for which the Census Bureau tabulates sample data.
Census Tract A small, relatively permanent statistical subdivision of a county delineated by a local committee of census data users for the purpose of presenting data. Census tracts nest within counties, and their boundaries normally follow visible features, but may follow legal geography boundaries and other non-visible features in some instances, Census tracts ideally contain about 4,000 people and 1,600 housing units.
Child Abuse Any person under the age of 18 who is believed to have been harmed or at risk of harm by their parents, guardians, or other caregivers. There are five types of abuse and neglect:
  • Neglect: When a parent or guardian does not provide for the basic needs of a child, though capable of doing so. Neglect can include not meeting physical, medical, educational or emotional needs.
  • Physical Abuse: A physical injury as a result of being hit, kicked, choked, thrown, pushed, or whipped by a parent or guardian. This may result in marks, cuts, burns, blisters, scratches, broken bones, sprains, dislocated joints, lifelong injury or death.
  • Sexual Abuse: The fondling of genitalia, exposure to sexually explicit material, penetration, incest, rape, indecent exposure and exploitation though prostitution or creating child pornography by a caregiver.
  • Exposure to Domestic Violence: Domestic violence itself is not a form of child abuse, but exposure to domestic violence, and/or witnessing the aftermath of domestic violence can have an effect on children that is similar to the effects of children who experience physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. Episodes of domestic violence may become more frequent and more severe over time and can lead to child abuse if it is not already happening.
  • Emotional Abuse: Emotional or psychological abuse is repeated behavior by an adult or caregiver that stunts a child’s emotional development or sense of self-worth. This may come in the form of threats, rejection, dehumanizing language, ongoing criticism, shaming or humiliating, and isolation.
Defense Contract U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) obligations through DoD-funded contracts during each fiscal year (FY) (i.e., October 1 through September 30). All contract data are from and include prime awards the DoD made to private- and public-sector contractors, as well as sub-awards that prime-award recipients provided to subcontractors.
Defense Personnel The total numbers of active duty, civilian, National Guard, and Reserve personnel in a state or the District of Columbia.  The states and counties refer to the duty locations for active duty and civilian personnel. National Guard and Reserve personnel figures are based on assigned locations.
Disability A long-lasting physical, mental, or emotional condition. This condition can make it difficult for a person to do activities such as walking, climbing stairs, dressing, bathing, learning, or remembering. This condition can also impede a person from being able to go outside the home alone or to work at a job or business.
  • Hearing Difficulty: Deaf or having serious difficulty hearing (DEAR).
  • Vision Difficulty: Blind or having serious difficulty seeing, even when wearing glasses (DEYE).
  • Cognitive Difficulty: Because of a physical, mental, or emotional problem, having difficulty remembering, concentrating, or making decisions (DREM).
  • Ambulatory Difficulty: Having serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs (DPHY).
  • Self-Care Difficulty: Having difficulty bathing or dressing (DDRS).
  • Independent Living Difficulty: Because of a physical, mental, or emotional problem, having difficulty doing errands alone such as visiting a doctor’s office or shopping (DOUT).
Driver's License All classes of driver’s license including regular (Class D), commercial (Classes A, B, C), and moped only (Class G).
Drug Overdose Deaths Deaths due to drug overdose including Cocaine, Fentanyl, Heroin, Methadone, Opioids, Prescription Drugs, and Psychostimulants with Abuse Potential. Drug overdose deaths may involve multiple drugs; therefore, a single death might be included in more than one category when describing the number of drug overdose deaths involving a specific drug. For example, a death that involved both heroin and fentanyl would be included in the following categories: deaths involving heroin, deaths involving fentanyl, deaths involving opioids, and deaths involving prescription drugs. Deaths include all manner and intent, including unintentional, suicide, homicide, and undetermined intent. 
Educational Attainment The highest level of education completed in terms of the highest degree, or the highest level of schooling completed.
Employability Credential Level
Level Credential levels correspond to the skill requirements of profiled job zones in the O*NET job career pathways
Achievement Level 5 Indicates that the student has the foundational skills to pursue O*NET Job Zone Level 5 career pathways. Includes 100% of O*NET Job Zones.
Achievement Level 4 Indicates that the student has the foundational skills to pursue O*NET Job Zone Level 5 career pathways. Includes 83% of O*NET Job Zones.
Achievement Level 3 Indicates that the student has the foundational skills to pursue O*NET Job Zone Level 5 career pathways. Includes 59% of O*NET Job Zones.
Achievement Level 2 Indicates that the student has the foundational skills to pursue O*NET Job Zone Level 5 career pathways. Includes 35% of O*NET Job Zones.
Endangered Species Any species which is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range.
Environmental Quality
Index (EQI)
The EQI is composed of five environmental domains: (1) air, (2) water, (3) land, (4) built, and (5) sociodemographic. It will improve the understanding of the relationship between environmental conditions and human health.
Ethnicity There are two minimum categories for ethnicity: Hispanic or Latino and Not Hispanic or Latino. Race and Hispanic origin are two separate and distinct concepts. Hispanic or Latino refers to a person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race.
Fair Market Rent (FMR) The FMR is developed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to determine payments for housing assistance programs like the Section 8 housing choice voucher program.
Family Household A householder and one or more people living in the same household who are related to the householder by birth, marriage, or adoption. All people in a household who are related to the householder are regarded as members of his or her family. A family household may contain people not related to the householder, but those people are not included as part of the householder's family. Thus, the number of family households is equal to the number of families, but family households may include more members than families. Not all households contain families since a household may comprise a group of unrelated people or one person living alone.
Family Income The sum of the income of all family members 15 years and older living in the household. Families are groups of two or more people (one of whom is the householder) related by birth, marriage, or adoption and residing together; all such people (including related subfamily members) are considered as members of one family.
Fatal Collision Any injury collision that results in one or more fatal injuries.
Food Budget Shortfall The total annualized additional dollar amount that food-insecure individuals need, on average, to purchase just enough food to meet their food needs. It is assumed that individuals in households that are food insecure experience food insecurity, on average, seven months out of the year. This amount has been adjusted to reflect local food prices and relevant taxes.
Food Environmental Index The share of food retailers that are considered healthy based on size and typical food offerings. This includes access to healthy foods by considering the distance an individual lives from a grocery store or supermarket, locations for health food purchases in most communities, and the inability to access healthy food because of cost barriers.
Food Insecurity The lack of access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy life.
Food Stamps/SNAP The Food Stamp Act of 1977, declaration of policy, provides eligible households with coupons that can be used to purchase food increases food purchasing power. The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) administers the Food Stamp program through state and local welfare offices. The Food Stamp program is the major national income support program to which all low-income and low-resource households, regardless of household characteristics, are eligible.
Graduation Rate Percentage of students who earn a standard high school diploma in four years known as the on-time graduation rate.
Health Insurance Coverage Health insurance coverage is broadly classified as private or public. Private health insurance is a plan provided through an employer or union, a plan purchased by an individual from a private company, or TRICARE or other military health care. Public coverage includes the federal programs Medicare, Medicaid, and VA Health Care (provided through the Department of Veterans Affairs); the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP); and local medical programs for indigents (this program is included only for the Pacific Islands). People who had no reported health coverage, or those whose only health coverage was Indian Health service (this program is included only in the American Community Survey), were considered uninsured.
Household A household includes all the people who occupy a housing unit (such as a house or apartment) as their usual place of residence. A household includes the related family members and all the unrelated people, if any, such as lodgers, foster children, wards, or employees who share the housing unit. A person living alone in a housing unit, or a group of unrelated people sharing a housing unit such as partners or roomers, is also counted as a household. The count of households excludes group quarters. There are two major categories of households, "family" and "nonfamily."
Household Income The sum of the income of all people 15 years and older living in the household. A household includes related family members and all the unrelated people, if any, such as lodgers, foster children, wards, or employees who share the housing unit. A person living alone in a housing unit, or a group of unrelated people sharing a housing unit, is also counted as a household.
Housing Affordability Affordable housing is generally defined as housing for which the occupant is paying no more than 30 percent of gross income for housing costs, including utilities.
Housing Unit A house, an apartment, a mobile home or trailer, a group of rooms, or a single room occupied as separate living quarters, or if vacant, intended for occupancy as separate living quarters. Separate living quarters are those in which the occupants live separately from any other individuals in the building, and which have direct access from outside the building or through a common hall. For vacant units, the criteria of separateness and direct access are applied to the intended occupants whenever possible.
Income The income received on a regular basis (exclusive of certain money receipts such as capital gains and lump-sum payments) before payments for personal income taxes, social security, union dues, Medicare deductions, etc. It includes income received from wages, salary, commissions, bonuses, and tips; self-employment income from own nonfarm or farm businesses, including proprietorships and partnerships; interest, dividends, net rental income, royalty income, or income from estates and trusts; Social Security or Railroad Retirement income; Supplemental Security Income (SSI); any cash public assistance or welfare payments from the state or local welfare office; retirement, survivor, or disability benefits; and any other sources of income received regularly such as Veterans' (VA) payments, unemployment and/or worker's compensation, child support, and alimony.
Infant Mortality Death of a live born infant under one year of age. Rates are expressed per 1,000 annual live births.
Injury Collision An injury collision is any road vehicle collision that results in one or more injuries.
Land Cover Land cover data documents how much of a region is covered by forests, wetlands, impervious surfaces, agriculture, and other land and water types. Water types include wetlands or open water.
Live Birth The complete expulsion or extraction from its mother of a product of human conception, irrespective of the duration of pregnancy, which, after such expulsion or extraction, breathes or shows any other evidence of life, such as beating of the heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord, or definite movement of voluntary muscles, whether or not the umbilical cord has been cut or the placenta is attached.
Live Expectancy Average number of years a person can expect to live.
Low-Income Housing Tax
Credit (LIHTC)
Created by the Tax Reform Act of 1986, the LIHTC provides a tax incentive to construct or rehabilitate affordable rental housing for low-income households by subsidizing the acquisition, construction, and rehabilitation of affordable rental housing for low- and moderate-income tenants.
Median Age The median age is the age at the midpoint of the population. Half of the population is older than the median age and half of the population is younger.
Median Housing Value The median divides the value distribution into two equal parts: one-half of the cases falling below the median value of the property (house and lot) and one-half above the median.
Median Income The median divides the income into two equal groups: one having incomes above the median, and the other having incomes below the median.
Mortality All deaths from death certificate data.
Mortgage All forms of debt where the property is pledged as security for repayment of the debt, including deeds of trust, trust deed, contracts to purchase, land contracts, junior mortgages, and home equity loans.
Net Domestic Migration The difference between domestic in-migration to an area and domestic out-migration from the same area during a specified time period. Domestic in- and out-migration consist of moves where both the origin and the destination are within the United States (excluding Puerto Rico). The net domestic migration rate expresses net domestic migration during a specified time period as a proportion of an area's population at the midpoint of the time period.
No Cash Rent Housing Unit The unit may be owned by friends or relatives who live elsewhere and who allow occupancy without charge. Rent-free houses or apartments may be provided to compensate caretakers, ministers, tenant farmers, sharecroppers, or others. 
Owner-Occupied Housing Unit The owner or co-owner lives in the unit even if it is mortgaged or not fully paid for.
Per Capita Income Average income computed for every man, woman, and child in a particular group. It is derived by dividing the total income of a particular group by the total population.
Population All people, male and female, child, and adult, living in a given geographic area.
Poverty If the total income for a family or unrelated individual falls below the relevant poverty threshold (a set of money income thresholds that vary by family size and composition to determine who is in poverty), then the family (and every individual in it) or unrelated individual is considered in poverty. This determination uses money income before taxes and does not include capital gains or noncash benefits (such as public housing, Medicaid, and food stamps).
Poverty Rate The percentage of people (or families) who are in poverty. Annual poverty rates are calculated using the sum of family income over the year divided by the sum of poverty thresholds that can change from month to month if one's family composition changes. If a family's total income is less than the family's threshold, then that family and every individual in it is considered in poverty.  
Property Crime The offenses of breaking and entering, motor vehicle theft, larceny, and arson.
  • Breaking and Entering: The unlawful entry into a building or other structure with the intent to commit a felony or a theft.
  • Motor Vehicle Theft: The stealing or attempted stealing of a motor vehicle (e.g., cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, motor-scooters, etc.) This excludes the unauthorized temporary taking of motor vehicles by those having lawful access.
  • Larceny: The unlawful taking of property from the possession of another. It includes shoplifting, pocket-picking, purse snatching, thefts from motor vehicles, thefts of motor vehicle parts, and accessories without force, violence, or fraud. It does not include embezzlement, con games, forgery, bad checks, or motor vehicle theft.
  • Arson: The unlawful and intentional damage or the attempt to damage any real or personal property by fire or incendiary device.
Ready to Work (R2W) Certificate
Level Level Score Requirements Certificate levels correspond to the skill requirements of profiled jobs in the ACT JobPro® database
Platinum Minimum score of 6 on each of the three core subtests* Indicates the skills required for approximately 99% of profiled jobs
Gold Minimum score of 5 on each of the three core subtests* Indicates the skills required for at least 93% of profiled jobs
Silver Minimum score of 4 on each of the three core subtests* Indicates the skills required for at least 69% of profiled jobs
Bronze Minimum score of 3 on each of the three core subtests* Indicates the skills required for at least 17% of profiled jobs

*Applied Mathematics, Reading for Information, and Locating Information.
Race A social definition of race recognized in this country and not an attempt to define race biologically, anthropologically, or genetically. The categories of the race include White, Black or African American, American Indian or Alaska Native (AIAN), Asian, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander (NHPI), Some Other Race, and Two or More Race.
  • Some Other Race: This category does not include White, Black or African American, American Indian or Alaska Native (AIAN), Asian, and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander (NHPI). It also includes multiracial, mixed, interracial, or a Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish group (for example, Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, or Spanish).
  • Two or More Races: This category refers to combinations of two or more of the following race categories: White, Black or African American, American Indian or Alaska Native (AIAN), Asian, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander (NHPI), and Some Other Race
Renter-Occupied Housing Unit All occupied units which are not owner occupied, whether they are rented for cash rent or occupied without payment of cash rent.
Residential Segregation The degree to which two or more groups live separately from one another in a geographic area. The index of dissimilarity is a demographic measure of the evenness with which two groups (Black and White residents, Non-White and White resident) are distributed across the component geographic areas (census tracts) that make up a larger area (county). The residential segregation index ranges from 0 (complete integration) to 100 (complete segregation). The index score can be interpreted as the percentage of either Black or white residents that would have to move to different geographic areas in order to produce a distribution that matches that of the larger area.
Risk Index The risk index uses data from the National Risk Index (NRI) which is defined as the potential for negative impacts as a result of natural hazards including Avalanche, Coastal Flooding, Cold Wave, Drought, Earthquake, Hail, Heat Wave, Hurricane, Ice Storm, Landslide, Lightning, Riverine Flooding, Strong Wind, Tornado, Tsunami, Volcanic Activity, Wildfire, and Winter Weather.

The Risk Index includes three components: a natural hazards component (Expected Annual Loss), a consequence enhancing component (Social Vulnerability), and a consequence reduction component (Community Resilience).
  • Expected Annual Loss (EAL) represents the average economic loss in dollars resulting from natural hazards each year. It is calculated for each hazard type and quantifies loss for relevant consequence types: buildings, people, and agriculture.
  • Social Vulnerability is the susceptibility of social groups to the adverse impacts of natural hazards, including disproportionate death, injury, loss, or disruption of livelihood.
  • Community Resilience is the ability of a community to prepare for anticipated natural hazards, adapt to changing conditions, and withstand and recover rapidly from disruptions.
Sales Tax Sales tax is imposed on the sale of goods and certain services in South Carolina. The statewide sales and use tax rate is six percent (6%). Counties may impose an additional one percent (1%) local sales tax if voters in that county approve the tax. Generally, all retail sales are subject to the sales tax.
SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) A standardized test often used in the college admissions process. Its' aim is to assess the students’ readiness for college. The current test consists of two 800-point sections testing Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (ERW) and Mathematics. The highest composite score on the SAT is 1600.
School Enrollment Data are used to assess the socioeconomic condition of school-age children classified as enrolled in regular school, either public or private, which includes nursery school, kindergarten, elementary school, and schooling which leads to a high school diploma or college degree.
School Dropout Rate An annual rate of students in grades 7 through 12 who leave the school or district for any reason, other than death, prior to graduation without transferring to another school, district, or institution.
School Dropout Recovery Rate The proportion of students in grades 9 through 12 from each school and district who, having dropped out during a particular academic year, reenrolled in a public school or enrolled in an Adult Education high school diploma granting program within the first 135 days of the next academic year.
Sex The concept of sex is often confused with the concept of gender, and the terms are used interchangeably. Sex is the biological attributes of men and women (chromosomes, anatomy, hormones), while gender is a social construction whereby a society or culture assigns certain tendencies or behaviors the labels of masculine or feminine. These assignments may differ across cultures and among people within a culture, and even across time. Gender may or may not correspond directly to sex, depending on the society or culture or period. That means, for example, that people may associate themselves with femininity (as defined by their culture) while being biologically male. 
Student-Teacher Ratio The number of students enrolled in a school compared to the number of full-time equivalent teachers employed there for English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies classes.
Student in Poverty Students who are homeless or migrant for the current school year, Medicaid enrollment at any time in a three-year period, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) enrollment at any time in a three-year period, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) enrollment in a three-year period, and foster care involvement in a three-year period.
Suboptimal Housing According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Development (HUD), suboptimal housing refers to housing with at least one of the four problems including incomplete kitchen facilities, incomplete plumbing facilities, overcrowding—more than 1 person per room, or cost burden—monthly housing costs (including utilities) exceeding 30% of monthly income.
SWAP The State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) is developed for conserving wildlife and habitat before they become too rare or costly to restore. Factors included rarity, threats, lack of management funding, and lack of data. 
Threatened Species Any species which is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range.
Tourism employment and payroll Estimated shares to travel related industries that provide goods and services to travelers.
Tourism expenditure The amount paid for the acquisition or consumption of goods and services, as well as valuables, for personal use or to give away, for and during tourism trips. Estimates of tourism expenditures include South Carolina residents’ travel-related spending in the state and travel spending in South Carolina by inbound visitors from other states.
Traffic Collision A road vehicle collision in which (1) the unstabilized situation originates on a trafficway or (2) a harmful event occurs on a trafficway not directly resulting from a cataclysm (a cloudburst, cyclone, earthquake, flood, hurricane, lightening, tidal wave, torrential rain, tornado or volcanic eruption).
  • Inclusions: Motor vehicles driven into water after bridge was washed during a hurricane or flood. Motor vehicles driven into fallen materials covering a roadway after a landslide or avalanche.
  • Exclusions: Motor vehicles in transport washed away with a bridge during a hurricane or flood. Motor vehicle in transport buried by a landslide or avalanche.
Unemployment The number of people who have lost jobs including people who have quit their jobs to look for other employment, workers whose temporary jobs have ended, individuals looking for their first job, and experienced workers looking for jobs after an absence from the labor force in the prior 4 weeks and are currently available for work.
Unemployment Rate The number of unemployed people as a percentage of the civilian labor force, restricted to people 16 years of age and older.
Underemployment A measure of employed individuals who are either working part-time but preferring a full-time position, working in a non-permanent position but preferring a permanent job, or “overqualified” for their current position due to factors like training, education, pay scale, and job satisfaction. Underemployment is a critical measure in quantifying the real, available workforce especially for new and expanding firms in a community as they ramp-up operations.
Violent Crime Consisting of murder, sexual battery, robbery, and aggravated assault, and involves the element of personal confrontation between the victim and offender.
  • Murder: The willful killing of one person by another. The classification of this offense is based on police investigation as opposed to the determination of a court, medical examiner, coroner, jury, or another judicial body. Deaths caused by negligence, suicide, accident, or justifiable homicides are not included.
  • Sexual Battery: The penetration—no matter how slight—of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or the oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without consent of the victim. It includes both male and female victims of rape, sodomy, and sexual assault with an object. Statutory rape and other sex offenses are not included.
  • Robbery: The taking or attempted taking of anything of value from the care, custody, or control of another person by force or threat of force, by violence, or by putting the victim in fear of immediate harm.
  • Aggravated Assault: An unlawful attack by one person upon another wherein the offender uses a serious weapon or displays it in a threatening manner, or the victim suffers obvious severe or aggravated bodily injury involving apparent broken bones, loss of teeth, possible internal injury, severe laceration, or loss of consciousness.
Voting Registration In order to vote, South Carolina law requires one must first register to vote at least 30 days prior to the election. To be eligible to register in South Carolina you must:
  • be a United States citizen.
  • be at least eighteen years old on or before the next election.
  • be a resident of South Carolina in the county and precinct in which you are registering.
  • not be under a court order declaring you mentally incompetent.
  • not be confined in any public prison resulting from a conviction of a crime.
  • have never been convicted of a felony or offense against the election laws OR if previously convicted, have served the entire sentence, including probation or parole, or have received a pardon for the conviction.