For immediate release -- August 23, 2023
New Haven, CT – In Connecticut health inequities may have led to an excess of 14,000 deaths among the state’s Black population between 2017 and 2022, according to a new report on health in Connecticut from the non-profit organization DataHaven.
Similar to approaches used nationally, DataHaven calculated excess deaths as the difference between mortality rates for Black populations and white populations. If deaths had been evenly experienced, these rates would be equal, but mortality for Black populations was higher. Those deaths were due in part to COVID-19, chronic kidney disease, and heart disease—many of which were preventable.
The new publication, titled “Health Equity in Connecticut 2023,” includes information gathered from statewide and national mortality records, the DataHaven Community Wellbeing Survey of randomly-selected adults throughout Connecticut, census data, and other sources. The summary report is available for free online at DataHaven at ctdatahaven.org/healthequity2023.
“Connecticut as a whole is one of the nation’s healthiest states, but those outcomes are not shared evenly,” said Tiffany Donelson, President and CEO of the Connecticut Health Foundation, the state’s largest independent health philanthropy and a funder of the report. “Residents of color, in particular, face a wide range of barriers that lead to poorer health and well-being. DataHaven’s health equity report is especially valuable in presenting data in a detailed way that makes it clear where all of us in our state need to do more to make sure everyone has the resources and structure to be as healthy as possible. In addition, the report provides helpful context to explain the roots of these inequities we see today. This is important reading for everyone involved in health and policy in Connecticut,” said Donelson.
A few additional findings from DataHaven’s 2023 report include:
- Statewide, low-income adults are five times as likely as high income adults to report feeling chronically depressed.
- Nearly twice as many young adults ages 18–34 report having asthma compared to adults 65 and over.
- Between 15 and 20 percent of Black adults, low-income adults, and adults living in Hartford and New Haven have experienced some sort of discrimination in a healthcare setting recently.
- Fetal mortality is more than twice as high—and infant mortality more than three times as high—for Black babies as for white babies in Connecticut.
- Fentanyl—a major influence in the rise in overdose deaths—was found in 85 percent of Connecticut’s fatal overdose victims in 2022.
- The share of adults who feel they have access to affordable fruits and vegetables where they live ranges from 90 percent in many wealthy suburbs to less than 50 percent in Hartford.
In addition to presenting easily-accessible information and data graphics on key social drivers of health and health outcomes in Connecticut, the report includes a more detailed analysis of the impact of firearm deaths. While mortality related to firearms is lower in Connecticut than nationwide, some groups are disproportionately affected. For example, Black men and boys between ages 15 and 24 make up 37 percent of gun homicide victims in Connecticut, but comprise only 3 percent of the state’s population, according to DataHaven’s analysis.
"DataHaven's use of a health equity lens empowers local policymakers, organizations, and most importantly, communities, to act in ways that will make a difference for Connecticut residents' health, said Dr. Megan Ranney, Dean of the Yale School of Public Health and one of the reviewers of the report. “The uniquely American epidemic of firearm injury is entangled with other sources of health inequity - such as race, socioeconomic status, and neighborhood environment. Work on firearm injury is also rife with untruths and mis-truths. The DataHaven report shares indisputable data, and illuminates some of the drivers of firearm injury that we can address right here in our own backyard,” said Dr. Ranney.
DataHaven’s previous statewide health equity report, published in June 2020, detailed how the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic were rooted in social inequality, such as disparities in housing, wealth, and access to healthcare. The updated health equity report complements other recently-released publications by DataHaven, including its Community Wellbeing Index and Town Equity Reports (ctdatahaven.org/equityreports). The Town Equity Reports are available for each of the 169 towns in Connecticut, as well as for areas such as Councils of Governments regions, providing an innovative new source of local information for all communities.
“The legacy of racism continues to drive social and health-related inequities in Connecticut,” said Kelly Davila, Senior Research Associate at DataHaven. “By looking at the data for our various communities, we can no longer hide behind the state’s overall well-being and consider our policies a success. We must take action to correct the deep disparities that underlie the outcomes we describe in this report.”
Executive Director, DataHaven
Email: info [at] ctdatahaven.org, Phone: 203-500-7059
DataHaven is a New Haven-based non-profit organization with a 30-year history of public service to Connecticut communities. Its mission is to empower people to create thriving communities by collecting and ensuring access to data on well-being, equity, and quality of life. Learn more at ctdatahaven.org.