What makes a community vital? Community vitality is about whether people feel a sense of belonging to the place where they live and whether they feel connected to one another. Do they trust their leaders? Do they engage in community life and participate in decision-making? Do all groups in the community—across racial / ethnic, language, or other social or demographic differences—feel like they belong? These all contribute to whether people want to live in a place. That sense of belonging can, in turn, affect the community's tax base and resources to support schools, roads, parks, etc. In addition, social isolation has profound effects on the health of people. Some estimate it is the equivalent of smoking one quarter of a pack of cigarettes every day.
How often do adults lack the social and emotional support they need?
This survey question, part of a supplement to the 2017 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey, was only asked in two states: Minnesota and Wisconsin. The percent's numerator is the sum of "sometimes," "rarely," and "never" responses. The overall results of this survey question from both states are presented below, broken down by race.
What this measures: Amount of social support people perceive they receive relative to the amount of social support they feel they need.
Why this matters: It is an important measure of community connectedness. Getting enough social and emotional support is linked to better health and lower risk of death.
What this relates to: Health
Data source: Data was calculated by LiveStories based on the aggregated data from the 2017 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey supplement. Note that this data only reflects samples from the two states that participated in this supplement.
What percentage of eligible voters cast votes in the 2016 election?
What this measures: The percent of eligible residents who voted in the last major election.
Why this matters: Strong voter turnout indicates that individuals want to affect change. It also means they feel empowered to take action. This can mean that a community is also ready to address issues affecting their health outcomes.
What this relates to: Equity, health outcomes, transportation, public safety, housing, built environment.
Data source: Census Bureau, Voting and Registration in the Election of November 2016.
What percent of people were upset by experiences of racism?
"Within the past 30 days, have you felt emotionally upset, for example angry, sad, or frustrated, as a result of how you were treated based on your race?"
This survey question, part of a supplement to the 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey, was only asked in three states: Minnesota, Mississippi, and New Mexico. The overall results of this survey question from all three states are presented below, broken down by race.
What this measures: The percentage of adults who experienced the impact of racism.
Why this matters: Racism is associated with higher risk of poor health outcomes. Measuring the impact of racism in a community can show the size of the problem. It will also reveal targets for intervention and help measure improvement.
What this relates to: Health inequity, social connectedness.
Data source: Data was calculated by LiveStories based on the aggregated data from the 2014 BRFSS survey supplement. Note that this data only reflects samples from the three states that participated in this supplement.
Other Interesting Measures
• Percent of people living in a different house than 1 year ago. Source: American Community Survey (ACS).
• Percent of people responding yes to “People around here are willing to help their neighbors”.
Source: Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods: Community Involvement and Collective Efficacy.
• Aggregate score on two subscales: emotional connection (to community) and membership (sense of belonging to community). Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) National Survey of Health Attitudes.
• Evenness with which racial/ethnic groups are distributed across Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) (index of dissimilarity). Source: ACS.
• Percent of residents (16+) who volunteered in past year. Source: Minnesota (MN) Compass, Current Population Survey, Volunteer Supplement, Corporation for National and Community Service.
• Percent of adults responding “just about always” or “most of the time” to the question “How much of the time do you think you can trust the government in Washington/ national government to do what is right?". Source: Pew Research Center.