Frequently Asked Questions

The LA Counts team is pleased to co-create this new resource with the Los Angeles community. We believe in the power of transparency and encourage you to help us build and improve these FAQs.

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What is LA Counts?

LA Counts, a work in progress, is a free and open source platform of data resources and stories about and for Los Angeles County. A not-for-profit initiative of the California Community Foundation, LA Counts turns data into a freely available community asset, placing it at the service of advocates and changemakers. For the first time ever, changemakers working on behalf of Los Angeles will be able to find the data they need to inspire the change they seek. Without it, funders and decision makers are less inclined to invest, and LA misses out


Who is behind LA Counts?

California Community Foundation (CCF) has worked for over a century to transform generosity into impact and improve the quality of life for all of Los Angeles County. With over $1.7 billion in assets, CCF is the permanent philanthropic endowment for the communities in LA County and is dedicated to leading social change to benefit all residents, most especially the poorest and most vulnerable. LA Counts represents CCF’s vision that access to data is the beginning of the journey of change for LA. Ultimately, the goal is to have LA Counts be community governed and supported.


What is a data referatory?

A referatory points to data sources or “refers” to them in contrast to a data repository that stores or hosts data. LA Counts aggregates datasets and stories relevant to LA County while encouraging the exploration and continued development of existing Los Angeles dashboards, portals and tools.


What are the priority areas?

LA Counts is focused on improving the lives of all LA County residents and the priority areas represent areas that have been traditionally overlooked, underreported or underfunded. Our priority areas: Education, Health, Housing and Immigration represent specific areas of need and highlight where data may be useful or missing altogether.


What’s the Metadata Completion Rate?

The Metadata Completion Rate (MCR) indicates the degree to which the dataset meets LA Counts minimum required set of metadata elements. Based on W3C’s Data Catalog Vocabulary (DCAT) recommendations, 14 of 23 aspects determine the percentage complete. In short: number of completed required elements / 14 = MCR%.


Where do the datasets come from?

LA Counts explores and documents datasets that are relevant to LA County--they include federal, state, regional, and local datasets. Many of these data are publicly available, all are reflective of LA County. While the majority of data in the inventory are collected and maintained by government agencies, nonprofit and private publishers are also listed.


Why are some datasets marked as restricted access?

Access to some datasets are restricted for legal or ethical reasons, e.g., the California State Attorney General’s CalGang database. In cases such as these, we’ve included information about how to request access to a dataset and who may be more successful in their attempt to do so.


Why don’t you clean the data?

We believe there is a need for an agnostic library of data about LA County and consequently some of the data you will find here won't be as clean or as useful as it could be. We hope this trasnparency inspires both data publishers and data users to improve the quality of all Los Angeles County data.


Do you have a github repository?

Yes, we do! (Or we will.) Since we’re growing and learning and thus in a long term discovery phase, our documentation is in process.


Do you have an API?

We are working on this aspect of LA Counts. Stay tuned.


How can I contribute / share content?

Visit our feedback form and let us know what you'd like to share or contribute. We're interested in your datasets, stories, and visualizations.


Can I link to the site / share content?

Yes, the site is intended to be used and the content shared widely. We welcome hearing about where and how you used data from LA Counts!



Please drop us a line on the Contact Us page!