Non-white residents and those living in urban areas continue to be less happy, less healthy, have less access to basic necessities and are less satisfied with their communities, according to results of a new statewide survey of residents.
DataHaven, a nonprofit that collects data on well-being and quality of life, released the 2023 Community Wellbeing Index regional reports and the 2022 DataHaven Community Wellbeing Survey results. The 2023 report uses various data sources, including the 2022 survey results and other non-survey data, from across Connecticut to gauge how different groups feel about their communities.
“Public agencies and community organizations throughout Connecticut have eagerly awaited this latest Community Wellbeing Index. It has become one of the principal documents that helps to guide efforts to boost quality of life of all residents,” said Mark Abraham, executive director of DataHaven. “This work is especially important as policymakers and residents seek to ensure a strong, equitable recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.”
The 2022 survey has revealed that racial and town-based differences can significantly influence an individual’s physical and mental health.
Disparities were seen in responses related to health questions, particularly those involving diabetes, asthma, self-reported health and medical care.
White respondents self-reported higher levels of overall health (59%) compared to the lowest rate, reported by Latinos (45%).
They also had the lowest asthma rates (16%), one of the lowest diabetes rates (13%), and the lowest rates of not getting needed medical care (10%).
Latino respondents had the highest levels of asthma (24%) and experienced higher rates of not getting needed medical care (17%).
Black respondents had the highest rates of diabetes (17%).
The survey compared data across what it described as the Five Connecticuts, a classification system used to split the state based on census data such as median household income, population density and poverty rate of each town. It shows that wealthy towns had the lowest rates of diabetes and asthma while reporting the highest levels of overall health (80%).
Urban periphery and urban core towns had the highest rates of diabetes and asthma and one of the lowest levels of overall health.
Rural towns had the highest rates of not getting needed medical care.
Regarding life necessities, Latinos had the highest levels of insecurity related to housing, food and transportation.
Fourteen percent of Latinos and 11% of Black respondents did not have enough money to provide shelter or housing for themselves or their families, compared to 8% of whites.
Twenty-two percent of Latinos and 21% of Black respondents had to stay at home due to not having reliable transportation, compared to 11% of whites.
Thirty-four percent of Latinos and 25% of Black respondents did not have enough money to buy food for themselves or their family, compared to 11% of whites.
Urban core areas also faced the highest levels of insecurity for transportation (23%) and food (28%). For housing, wealthy towns had the highest levels of insecurity at (16%).
Suburban areas had the lowest levels of insecurity overall.
Non-white respondents also had lower levels of happiness and satisfaction with the area in which they live.
Latinos had the lowest levels of satisfaction with the area in which they live at 78%, compared to 90% of whites.
Black respondents had the lowest levels of happiness at 67% and reported the highest levels of anxiety at 14%, compared to 75% and 11% of whites, respectively.
Those living in urban core areas had the lowest levels of happiness and satisfaction with the area in which they live. Wealthy and suburban towns had the highest rates.
As for levels of anxiety, urban core areas and rural areas had the same rates at 16%, while suburban areas reported the lowest levels at 7%.
Community perception is lower for Black and Hispanic residents as well.
Seventy-six percent of Black respondents and 75% of Latinos trust their neighbors, compared to 92% of whites.
Fifty-six percent of Black respondents, the lowest rate, report their parks being in good condition, compared to 84% of whites.
Forty-nine percent of Black respondents think the police are keeping residents safe, compared to 70% of Latinos and 81% of whites.
Latinos report the lowest levels of ability to obtain suitable employment at 44%, compared to 53% of Black respondents and 72% of whites.
White residents report the lowest levels of having places at walking distance at 45%, compared to 67% of Black respondents and 61% of Latinos.
Those living in urban core areas had the lowest levels of trust with neighbors, belief that parks are in good condition, think the police are doing a good job and have good employment opportunities.
Suburban areas had the highest rates for trusting neighbors, having parks in good conditions, and thinking the police do a good job. Wealthy areas report having more employment opportunities.