What makes a community's economy vibrant and inclusive? An inclusive economy is about all people being able to have fairly paid, secure, meaningful work. People feel financially secure when they can take care of their basic needs and handle unexpected costs that might come up. When people struggle with financial security, they have less hope, age faster, and die prematurely. Communities that don't have a healthy economy can find it difficult to attract people to live or work there. This can make it difficult to have enough resources for good schools, parks, roads, and all the other conditions that create well-being. This can lead to a cycle of hopelessness and intergenerational poverty. Additionally, communities where not all people have equitable access to good jobs experience income inequality. Income inequality can lead to poorer health outcomes and higher health care costs.
What is the unemployment rate throughout the United States?
What this measures: The percentage of residents 16 or older who do not have a job and are looking for one.
Why this matters: Unemployment has negative effects on physical and mental health. It is linked to unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking, alcohol use, physical inactivity, and unhealthy diet. Unemployed people often do not have a steady income or health insurance. These are essential to maintaining good health. People who are unemployed are less likely to have access to health services. They are also likely to delay care because of financial concerns.
What this relates to: Median income, income inequality, health inequity.
Data source: Data at the U.S.-level is from the Current Population Survey, sponsored jointly by the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The state-level data is from the Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) dataset, released by the BLS. The rate shown is the seasonally-adjusted U3 rate.
INCOME & WEALTH
How does household income vary in the United States?
What this measures: Median annual household income.
Why this matters: Median household income is an indicator of low income and poverty. Low income may also result in poorer health and well-being. It may indicate less access to physical and mental health care. It may also affect health factors such as ability to purchase healthy foods and pay bills.
What this relates to: Equity, health, education.
Data source: American Community Survey, Table B19019.
How many adults could not afford a $400 emergency expense?
What this measures: The percentage of residents who would be able to handle a $400 emergency expense and still be able to pay all of their monthly bills.
Why this matters: This relates directly to a person's overall financial health. Inability to cover other unexpected expenses may also have a large impact on health and wellbeing. In 2017 over one-quarter of adults did not receive some form of medical care due to an inability to pay. Items such as a vehicle repair or purchase of a new heater may have health impacts.
What this relates to: Median income, health.
Data source: Federal Reserve, Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking.
Other Interesting Measures
INCOME AND WEALTH
• Percent of households receiving public assistance income. Source: Census.
• Percent of population living in owner-occupied housing. Source: ACS.
• Mean financial well-being level (self-reported financial security on Cantril’s ladder). Source: 100MLives Well-being Assessment.
• Percent of households receiving support from a state, city or community agency or organization (SNAP, free school breakfast/lunch, etc.). Source: Combination of sources, e.g., American Communities Survey, USDA Food & Nutrition Service Data.
• Proximity to employment. Source: Child Opportunity Index.
• Labor force participation rate (%). Source: Census.