Greater New Haven Community Index assesses region’s quality of life trends

Posted by admin on Oct 1, 2013

DataHaven Media Advisory – October 1, 2013

Greater New Haven Community Index assesses region’s quality of life trends

TitleBlock350The Greater New Haven Community Index 2013: Benchmarking the People, Economic Opportunity, Health Needs, and Civic Life of Our Region was published today by DataHaven and a group of community, government, and scientific partners. The report, which is available at www.ctdatahaven.org/communityindex, is believed to be the most comprehensive ever in the Greater New Haven region. For the first time, the Greater New Haven Community Index describes demographic change, education, economics, health, and civic life in our metropolitan area and its neighborhoods. The index ranks the Greater New Haven region as the 19th best-performing metropolitan region out of the 130 largest U.S. urban areas.

“The Community Index uses the most current and accurate neighborhood statistics – in many cases broken down in detail for the first time – to illustrate the opportunities and challenges that face the area where we live, work, and play,” said Mark Abraham, Executive Director of DataHaven and the report’s lead author.

The report highlights the strong interrelationships between factors that influence quality of life and happiness. For example, while schools are important, academic achievement is largely predicted by the health of the students and their families and the wellbeing of the neighborhoods where they grow up. The report also shows that the prosperity of older adults increasingly depends on the ability of our region’s children and young adults to achieve success themselves.

Other notable highlights:

    + Greater New Haven is as diverse as the nation as a whole. One in three residents identifies as a race or ethnicity other than “White,” up from one in five in 1990.
    + Our population is aging, raising concerns about the region’s ability to attract and retain a youthful workforce.
    + The region has a highly-educated population, with test scores and high school graduation rates increasing at the State average rate in most areas. Students in Connecticut and in outer suburbs, and students in the City of New Haven who identify as “White,” graduate at rates that are already above the Federal Government’s “Healthy People 2020” target of 82 percent. But low income students are significantly less likely to graduate.
    + The prosperity of suburban towns increasingly depends on the growing number of jobs located within the City of New Haven. Most commuters who hold jobs within a 2 mile radius of New Haven City Hall – 62 percent – hold a “living wage” job. But only 38 percent of employed workers who live within that same area hold one.
    + Greater New Haven is a healthy region, relative to the United States. However, rates of mortality and morbidity in low-income neighborhoods are significantly higher than in surrounding areas, with access to healthy foods, exercise, and safe neighborhoods among the factors identified as key public health concerns.
    + Citizens are confident in their ability to make Greater New Haven a better place. Most residents volunteer, contribute to local causes, and believe that their neighbors would mobilize to take action when needed.

    In addition to mining government data sources, the report shares data from two simultaneous field surveys conducted in 2012 by DataHaven and the Community Alliance for Research & Engagement at the Yale School of Public Health. Additional co-authors and sponsors, including The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, Yale-New Haven Hospital, and the New Haven Health Department, intend to update the Community Index on a regular basis, and use it to create regional “action plans,” identifying how government and business leaders can best measure and accelerate the region’s forward progress. Additional funders included the Carolyn Foundation, United Way of Greater New Haven, NewAlliance Foundation, Annie E. Casey Foundation, The United Illuminating Company and Southern Connecticut Gas, as well as the Donaghue Foundation and Kresge Foundation, which support CARE.

    New Haven map and infographic: Who lives near homicides?

    Posted by admin on Jan 28, 2013

    Homicide Infographic

    Credits: Mark Abraham, Executive Director of DataHaven (author); Sasha Cuerda, Mapping Consultant; Mario Garcia and Amanda Durante of City of New Haven for co-authoring Health Equity Alliance document referenced in the graphic.

    Community Wellbeing Survey Shows that Greater New Haven Residents Have Much to Celebrate; Sets Sights on Shared Goals

    Posted by admin on Jan 18, 2013

    Note: Please visit http://www.ctdatahaven.org/wellbeingsurvey for more information on the survey, including downloadable reports and results.

    Though many survey results were positive, residents throughout Greater New Haven identified employment opportunities as a major challenge.

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    (New Haven, CT) January 18, 2013: DataHaven and a collaboration of community funders including The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven and United Way of Greater New Haven today announced the results of their 2012 Community Wellbeing Survey, the largest survey of its kind ever conducted in the New Haven metropolitan area.  Managed by DataHaven, the Siena College Research Institute survey involved interviews with 1,307 randomly-selected residents between September 4 and October 16, 2012 on topics such as government services, education, and urban planning, as well as individual questions about civic engagement, health, and family economics.

    “Results from this survey show that we have much to celebrate,” according to Penny Canny, Ph.D., Senior Vice President for Grantmaking & Strategy at The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven and President of the Board at DataHaven. “Four out of five respondents express personal satisfaction with the city or area where they live. We also have a strong foundation for further improvement, with a solid majority of residents giving time or money to local initiatives within the past year, believing that their personal economic circumstances will improve in coming years, and feeling their neighborhood is safe, trustworthy, and able to organize itself for change if needed.”

    The Wellbeing Survey measures progress toward longstanding community priorities, including the need to ensure that children have the opportunity to succeed and to boost the financial security of families. Although the metropolitan area generally does well when compared to the national average on measures of health, income, and human capital (for example, with its Congressional District 3 ranking among the top 20% nationwide in the Measure of America’s Human Development Index), the Wellbeing Survey’s timely new data shows that many residents continue to face significant barriers to economic success, educational achievement, health, housing, and other critical aspects of life.

    “As a scientific survey of our entire adult population, the Wellbeing Survey gives us a powerful tool to gauge the challenges facing our community, and will help guide our efforts to have greater impact,” explained Jennifer Heath, Executive Vice President at United Way of Greater New Haven and a DataHaven Board member.

    “For 20 years, DataHaven has been encouraging data sharing between local, state, and national programs. We believe that the information released today, and forthcoming analyses of the data, will be of great use to neighborhood groups and other initiatives that are collaborating to improve the quality of life in Greater New Haven,” noted Mark Abraham, Executive Director of DataHaven.

    As an example, Abraham points out that the Wellbeing Survey has been simultaneously coordinated with a health survey of six lower-income neighborhoods within the City of New Haven, conducted this fall by the Community Alliance for Research and Engagement (CARE), a community-academic partnership based at the Yale University School of Public Health. CARE, the City of New Haven Health Department, Yale-New Haven Hospital, DataHaven, and other local organizations have formed a partnership to improve their understanding of health conditions within the region and take action to address disparities. Results from the CARE survey are expected in the coming weeks.

    “Without common measures of where we stand, it is difficult for organizations to take collective action toward meeting community goals,” Dr. Canny of DataHaven said. “Addressing the disparities in wellbeing, where they exist, represents the greatest opportunity for us to boost the trajectory of our entire region. High levels of community engagement, in spite of the difficult conditions faced by many families, suggest that most residents are optimistic and willing to work on improving our region.”

    Residents are encouraged to visit an interactive website to read more and provide feedback on the results.

    CONTACT:

    Mark Abraham

    Executive Director

    Regional Data Cooperative for Greater New Haven, Inc. (DataHaven)

    129 Church Street, Suite 605

    New Haven, CT 06510

    203-500-7059

    info@ctdatahaven.org

    About the Greater New Haven Community Wellbeing Survey

    The 2012 Community Wellbeing Survey, a project of DataHaven, is thought to be the largest survey of its type ever conducted in our area. Although many questions were derived from other national surveys to enable comparability, the project focused on collecting information on community wellbeing that is not available from any other public sources.

    The 20-minute telephone survey, conducted by the Siena Research Institute at Siena College in Loudonville, New York, involved landline and cell phone interviews with 1,307 randomly-selected households between September 4 and October 16, 2012. Researchers interviewed residents age 18 and over from within a group of 13 municipalities including the City of New Haven, its “inner ring” (East Haven, Hamden, and West Haven), and “outer ring” suburbs (Orange, Milford, North Haven, Guilford, Branford, North Branford, Madison, Woodbridge, Bethany). The data are representative of neighborhoods and diverse populations throughout Greater New Haven.  Survey respondents are anonymous and will never be identified. The survey carries an overall margin of error of +/- 2.7%.

    DataHaven currently provides over $25,000 worth of free technical assistance to local nonprofit organizations and community groups each year, and will work to accommodate public requests for information from the survey. Please visit the DataHaven website for more information.

    About DataHaven

    DataHaven, an affiliate of the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership in Washington, DC, was founded in 1992 as the Regional Data Cooperative to encourage information sharing and the stronger use of data within the public sector, including nonprofit organizations, researchers, and local residents. As a result of its relationships with the Connecticut Data Collaborative and other partners, DataHaven is managing an increasingly extensive array of community-level data from throughout the State about a wide variety of topics.

    About the Siena Research Institute

    Founded in 1980, the Siena College Research Institute, directed by Donald Levy, Ph.D., conducts political, economic, social and cultural research throughout the United States.  SRI, an independent, non-partisan research institute, subscribes to the American Association of Public Opinion Research Code of Professional Ethics and Practices. For more information, please call Don Levy at 518-783-2901.

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    DataHaven Celebrates 20 Years of Service to Greater New Haven; Community Wellbeing Survey Seeks to Measure Local Quality of Life

    Posted by admin on Sep 4, 2012

    The following is a press release for immediate use. Please visit http://www.ctdatahaven.org/wellbeingsurvey for more information, including results as they are made available.

    DataHaven Celebrates 20 Years of Service to Greater New Haven; Community Wellbeing Survey Seeks to Measure Local Quality of Life

    (New Haven, CT) August 28, 2012: Beginning in September and continuing through October, more than 1,300 adults living throughout Greater New Haven will be interviewed by phone about wellbeing within their community.

    Modeled after other national surveys on quality of life, the Greater New Haven Community Wellbeing Survey will allow funders and local residents to have an in-depth look at key issues such as civic engagement, economic opportunity, health, and education, in some cases for the first time. The study will represent part of a complete update of Community Compass, a 2003 data compendium that helped develop a broadly-shared understanding of the conditions that impact wellbeing and economic prosperity within the New Haven metropolitan region as a whole.

    The identity of survey respondents will remain anonymous. Aggregated data collected from the Community Wellbeing Survey will be shared with nonprofits, municipalities, elected officials and the broader public to increase understanding of the region’s needs and opportunities, and help inform decisions regarding resource allocation.

    “After almost 10 years, community institutions and foundations, including The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, the United Way of Greater New Haven, the Carolyn Foundation, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and major employers have convened around the need for updated community indicators data about Greater New Haven. Civic organizations and public agencies need access to the most accurate and recent data available in order to guide their work, and neighborhoods need these data to take action on key issues,” said Penny Canny, Ph.D., President of the Board of DataHaven, the nonprofit organization that is managing the survey effort.

    DataHaven, an affiliate of the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership in Washington, DC, was founded in 1992 as the Regional Data Cooperative to encourage information sharing and the stronger use of data within the public sector, including academic researchers and local residents. This summer, DataHaven released a report entitled “Celebrating 20 Years of Data for Community Action,” which describes the accomplishments of the group and includes a set of community-level data tracked between 1990 and the present. As a result of its relationships with the Connecticut Data Collaborative and other partners, DataHaven is managing an increasingly extensive array of community-level data from throughout the State about a wide variety of topics.

    According to Mark Abraham, Executive Director of DataHaven, an increasing number of local-level data sets have become available to the public over the past few years, including the 2010 Census, American Community Survey, Local Employment Dynamics, and many others.

    “Like other national surveys of wellbeing, the Greater New Haven Community Wellbeing Survey is important because it will begin to collect information on quality of life that is not available from any other source, but that is no less important than the typical set of indicators we commonly use to measure social or economic trends,” said Abraham.

    Following the completion of the project in November, DataHaven will publish a detailed report with survey results as well as data on other common measures of community health at the local level.

    In recent years, civic organizations throughout the New Haven area have been conducting a variety of surveys to help make decisions and target investments. For example, in 2009, a door-to-door health survey of six neighborhoods in the City of New Haven was directed by the Community Alliance for Research and Engagement (CARE), a community-academic partnership based at the Yale University School of Public Health. With support from The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven and other funders, New Haven’s neighborhood associations and the Lower Naugatuck River Valley Region each conducted quality of life surveys in 2010. The Valley Region includes the towns of Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Derby, Oxford, Seymour, and Shelton, Connecticut.

    In 2012, CARE, along with Yale-New Haven Hospital, the City of New Haven, DataHaven, and other institutions formed a partnership to repeat the 2009 health survey in the same six neighborhoods. In partnership with these and other organizations, DataHaven secured funding in order to launch its parallel Community Wellbeing Survey that will cover the broader Greater New Haven area. As a result, the Community Wellbeing Survey will produce citywide and regional comparison data for the CARE effort, in addition to allowing a deeper understanding of community wellbeing.

    The Community Wellbeing Survey will be conducted with the help of Siena Research Institute at Siena College in Loudonville, New York. Randomly-selected households will be interviewed by cell phone and landline in order to gather data that are representative of geographical areas and major population groups. All responses are strictly confidential and anonymous. They will only be released in the aggregate, and will not be identifable with any specific person.

    LINKS:

    Celebrating 20 Years of Data for Community Action: http://www.ctdatahaven.org/know/index.php/File:DataHaven_Annual_Report_2012.pdf

    Greater New Haven Community Wellbeing Survey (home page, for more information and results): http://www.ctdatahaven.org/wellbeingsurvey

    CONTACT:

    Mark Abraham

    Executive Director, Regional Data Cooperative for Greater New Haven, Inc. (DataHaven)

    129 Church Street, Suite 605

    New Haven, CT 06510

    203-500-7059

    info@ctdatahaven.org

    Study in Pediatrics: Tanking Economy & Foreclosures May Mean Kids Suffer More Abuse

    Posted by admin on Jul 16, 2012

    A new study in the journal Pediatrics suggests that the nation’s continuing economic and foreclosure crisis may be a reason why rates of physical abuse and brain injury among children remain high.

    http://www.medpagetoday.com/Pediatrics/DomesticViolence/33755

    An excerpt from the press article:

    For current foreclosures, a 1% point change over the previous year was associated with a 6.50% rise in abuse (95% CI 1.69 to 11.55, P=0.008) and a 10.21% increase in traumatic brain injury (95% CI 5.56 to 15.06, P<0.001).

    Once again, however, there was no significant change in all-cause injury (P=0.6).

    “These results suggest that housing concerns were a significant source of stress within communities and a harbinger for community maltreatment rates,” the researchers observed.

    As a related item, please read the recent policy brief on the link between housing, planning, and public health in Connecticut at this link. This brief was created by CADH and funded through the Connecticut Health Foundation. It makes the case for policy strategies that improve conditions to promote health and health equity by engaging partners across multiple sectors, particularly in housing.

    New issue papers on housing and urban development policy from the What Works Collaborative

    Posted by admin on Jun 7, 2012

    In its latest project, the What Works Collaborative engaged with other researchers, policymakers, and practitioners to identify and prioritize unanswered questions critical to housing and urban policy development, and create a collection of “field-building” research agendas across a variety of domains. These agendas are intended to help guide investments that will inform and advance policy and practice over the next three to five years. The papers and accompanying agendas can provide context, direction, and priorities for research that can inform housing and urban policy in the coming transformative years.

    · Field-Building Research Agendas: Critical Issues in Housing and Urban Policy, Executive Summary: Executive Summary

    Urban Institute

    · Housing as a Platform for Improving Education Outcomes among Low-Income Children

    Education and Low-Income Children Research Agenda

    · Housing as a Platform for Formerly Incarcerated Persons

    Formerly Incarcerated Persons Research Agenda

    · Housing as a Platform for Improving Outcomes for Older Renters

    Older Renters Research Agenda

    · Challenges Facing Housing Markets in the Next Decade

    Housing Markets Research Agenda

    · Critical Housing Finance Challenges for Policymakers

    Housing Finance Research Agenda

    · Building Successful Neighborhoods

    Successful Neighborhoods Research Agenda

    · The Intersection of Place and the Economy

    Metropolitan Economies Research Agenda

    Thank you to Peter Tatian for contributing material to this post.