[News article by Brian Slattery]

Hamden is a good place to live — as long as you can find a good job.

That’s one of the lessons from a newly released 2018 DataHaven Community Wellbeing Survey.

DataHaven conducted in-depth interviews with 16,043 people across the state, including 292 people in Hamden —  women and men, younger and older, single and married, renters and homeowners, representative of the town’s racial diversity and the range of income and education levels across households in town.

The survey asked Hamdenites questions about several aspects of their lives, from how safe they felt and how easy it was to get fresh produce, to broader questions about how they were managing financially and how hopeful their were for opportunities in town for the next generation.

The survey shows a strong sense of overall satisfaction, as 46 percent of respondents described themselves as “mostly satisfied” with their lives and another 22 percent said they were “completely satisfied.” Comfortable majorities of respondents felt they lived in safe neighborhoods, with good parks and amenities like grocery stores and banks within easy reach. They felt they could trust their neighbors; 76 percent of respondents felt that people around them were working to improve their communities. They thought kids in Hamden had a great chance of graduating high school and staying out of trouble in the process.

But looking more closely, disparities emerge, especially in the differences between people making under $75,000 a year (141 respondents) versus those who made more than that (114 respondents).

People making less were significantly less satisfied with their own lives. Twenty-four percent of them reported themselves as “just getting by” and another 16 percent described themselves as struggling. They thought it was harder to find suitable employment, or for that matter, good produce. They felt less safe in the neighborhoods where they lived, and felt they had less influence on government.

More alarming, 18 percent of people making less than $75,000 a year reported not having enough money to buy food the family needed, and 14 percent did not have adequate shelter, at some point in the past year.  They reported themselves as being less healthy, with higher rates of obesity and diabetes. More of then didn’t get medical care when they needed it, or put off getting care.

Yet 89 percent of them reported being satisfied with where they lived — more than those making more than $75,000 (79 percent). They perceived that the town is doing fine, if not getting better, around them. The survey results suggest that more and better jobs in town will let more people in on what’s good about living in Hamden.