This page has a selection of statewide press coverage about the 2023 Community Wellbeing Index reports.
Data measuring the health of Greater Hartford communities finds increasing economic, racial disparities
By Susan Dunne, Hartford Courant, March 14, 2023
Excerpt: A report unveiled Monday at the state Capitol in Hartford uses meticulously researched statistics to paint a bleak picture of life for the state’s less well-off citizens and people of color. Connecticut has a high quality of life compared to other states, but the disparity between the haves and the have-nots has widened as a result of the COVID pandemic, especially affecting nonwhite residents, the report shows.
In Greater Hartford, median incomes in higher-income Hartford-area towns have increased by about 27% since 1980, while incomes in more racially diverse cities such as Hartford, East Hartford and New Britain haven’t changed much or have dropped.
Sixty-nine percent of West Hartford residents own homes, compared to more racially diverse towns: 25% in Hartford, 41% in New Britain and 58% in East Hartford. At the same time, Black and Latino mortgage applicants are much more likely to be rejected than white applicants.
“American families accumulate wealth primarily through homeownership, and housing accounts for over 40% of all household wealth in the United States,” the report states.
White residents are more than four times more likely to live in affluent neighborhoods than Black and Latino residents, and very few neighborhoods have both high incomes and high levels of diversity.
Regionwide, 20% of white residents report that they are “just getting by,” while that number jumps to 39% for Black residents and 37% for Latinos. The category of “negative net worth” cites 11% of white residents, 30% of Black and 19% of Latinos. Residents of majority non-white neighborhoods are more likely to have debt in collections, the data reveals. [....]
“From March 2020 to August 2021, the federal government imposed a moratorium on evictions. Since that moratorium was lifted, eviction filings have been rising,” the report states. “Renters in Hartford, East Hartford, and New Britain were several times more likely to face eviction than renters in outer suburban areas.”
Communities of color also are more likely to face discrimination. In the Hartford region, 16% of Black respondents, 13% of Latino and 4% of white have reported discrimination in accessing health care. In looking for work, 18% of Black residents, 13% of Latino and 7% of white residents report discriminatory experiences. Regarding interactions with police, 9% of Black, 12% of Latino and 3% of white respondents reported discriminatory behavior.
The economic health, or the lack thereof, of regions has a ripple effect, impacting educational success, college admissions, food access, access to transportation, access to health care, fun violence, feelings of safety, low birth weight and premature death.
The foundations sponsoring the research said all sectors of society must work together toward chipping away at the systemic disparities. The Hartford Foundation pointed to several bills currently in the General Assembly, focusing on the right to housing, affordable housing, transit-oriented communities, homelessness response, free school meals, grocery stores in food deserts, job recruitment and a full employment trust fund. Read the full Greater Hartford, Greater New Haven and Fairfield County Wellbeing Index reports at ctdatahaven.org/reports.
Survey: CT’s non-white residents are less happy and healthy
By José Luis Martínez, CT Mirror, March 13, 2023
Excerpt: 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. [....]
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. [....]
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.
Greater Hartford's race and economic disparities 'more pronounced,' report shows
By Emily DiSalvo, Hearst CT Newspapers/CT Insider, March 16, 2023
Excerpt: Just 5 percent of Greater Hartford's population lives in a neighborhood with high income and high diversity, a new report from CT DataHaven shows. Conversely, 26 percent of Greater Hartford residents live in neighborhoods with low income and high diversity, and 37 percent live in neighborhoods with high income and low diversity.
"Connecticut is highly segregated, particularly by race and income," reads CT Data Haven's 2023 Greater Hartford Community Wellbeing Index. "Previous research by DataHaven found that Connecticut’s concentrations of wealth and poverty rival some of the most segregated metro areas in the U.S. Even as the state diversifies, inequality has become more pronounced."
These growing inequalities surrounding race and income were a common theme in the almost 100-page report.
"I think people are aware that neighborhood to neighborhood, there's pretty big jumps in terms of, like, income, quality of life, even within the larger cities," said Kelly Davila, senior research associate with CT DataHaven. "But this is just one measure to kind of quantify that in a more tangible way where we can look at which areas, in particular, are considered one of those diversity categories."
CT DataHaven is a nonprofit partner of the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership based in New Haven focused on collecting relevant data on regions across the state on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis. The report, along with similar reports on the Fairfield and New Haven areas, was published Monday.
In addition to income and race, the report covers food insecurity, broadband access, transportation access, housing and more. Here are some key takeaways from the CT DataHaven data report.
- The Community Index is a measure of economic, health-related and educational well-being. It is scored from 0 to 1,000. Hartford has the lowest community index score of 290, while Hebron has the highest of 990. Connecticut's is 774.
- The Personal Well-being Index is a measure of life satisfaction, self-rated health, anxiety and happiness. White people in Greater Hartford scored 824, Black people scored 638, and Latino people scored 554. West Hartford scored a perfect 1,000, while New Britain scored a 360.
- The population of Greater Hartford increased by 0.2 percent between 2010 and 2020.
- The population has diversified drastically since 1980, with the majority of diversity closer to Hartford and New Britain and the least in the outer ring of the region.
- White residents are over four times more likely to live in high-income or affluent neighborhoods than Black and Latino residents.
- While West Hartford has a poverty rate of 6 percent, nearby Hartford has a poverty rate of 28 percent.
- The Latino population of Greater Hartford is most likely to experience food insecurity, with 34 percent of Latino adults reporting food insecurity between 2015 and 2022.
- Twelve percent of residents in Greater Hartford stayed home in the last year because they did not have reliable access to transportation.
- Among households with at least one working-age member but without any employed members, 59 percent of Black households and 52 percent of Latino households had no access to a vehicle, while 21 percent of white households in this group lacked vehicle access.
- Homes owned by white and Asian homeowners have significantly higher value than Black and Latino homes in Greater Hartford.
- Mortgage applications from Black and Latino residents are rejected at higher rates than from white and Asian residents. Ten percent of mortgage applications by Black residents were rejected in 2021, while 4 percent of white residents faced rejection.
- The average cost of rent increased by about $300 per month in Greater Hartford between June 2018 and June 2022.
- Housing values in Hartford are starkly lower than in the rest of the region. In Hartford, the average housing value is $170,00, while the average for the region is $313,000. The highest value is in Avon at $430,000.
- From January to October 2022, there were 5,946 eviction filings in Greater Hartford. That equates to 446 for every 10,000 renter households.
- The number of jobs in every sector except transportation and warehousing declined between 2020 and 2022.
- Wage gaps in the region are larger on the basis of race and ethnicity than sex. The median earnings for a white man in the region was $75,000 in 2020. For a Latino man, the median was $41,000.
- Infant mortality rates for Black babies are 10.1 deaths per 1,000 live births compared to 3.1 for white babies.
- Hartford has a high burden of premature death — 9,478. This number refers to annualized years of potential for life lost before 75 per 100,000 residents between 2015 and 2022. The most common cause of premature death in Hartford was "poisoning," which includes overdoses.
- Thirty-two percent of Greater Hartford adults and 42 percent of adults in Hartford say an immediate family member has been in jail for at least one night. In Greater Hartford, rates are highest among Black and Latino adults.
Connecticut health inequality: DataHaven report exposes stark disparities
By Sujata Srinivasan, Connecticut Public Radio, March 20, 2023
Excerpt: The 2023 Community Wellbeing Index from DataHaven shows disparities in health outcomes from county to county, city to city, and within the same zip code – sometimes just two blocks apart.
In 2022, 13% of people in Bridgeport, Hartford and New Haven, compared to 6% statewide, said they missed doctor appointments due to lack of transportation. And between 2018-2021, more than twice the number of people in Hartford than Greater Hartford, New Haven than Greater New Haven, and Bridgeport compared to the rest of Fairfield County — ended up at a hospital for complications from a chronic condition such as alcohol use disorder, substance use disorder, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, asthma, and other mental health disorders.
“Housing or employment, we look at stuff like incarceration, those all have kind of neighborhood by neighborhood, in some cases, like block by block differences,” said Kelly Davila, senior research associate at DataHaven. “Health outcomes have lots of different inputs to them.”
More Latin Americans in Greater Hartford (20%) compared to all people statewide (11%) did not have a medical home: A primary care physician or a place to go if they got sick.
In Fairfield County, over three times more Black babies (9.2 deaths per 1,000 live births) die at infancy compared to white babies (2.7).
Mendi Blue-Paca, president and CEO of Fairfield County's Community Foundation, one of the nonprofits to fund the report, said the nonprofit recently launched a maternal health initiative.
“We are trying to figure out how we can improve outcomes, for particularly women of color in our country around maternal health,” she said.
The share of births with late or no prenatal care is twice as high for Black mothers (about 7%) as white mothers (about 3%). Blue-Paca said the report would help guide nonprofits to make investments in the community that have the most impact.
Additional press coverage
2 Yale Daily News Feature Story by Megan Vaz, April 3, 2023
3 West Hartford gets perfect score for health and happiness in well-being survey, CT Insider/Hearst CT article by Emily DiSalvo, March 23, 2023
4 Coastal Connecticut Times Feature Story by Kelly Prinz, March 19, 2023