Community Wellbeing Index 2023 Unveiled to Partners
Mar 20, 2023
On March 13, at the Connecticut State Capitol, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation jointly hosted the release of the new Fairfield County Community Wellbeing Index 2023 produced by DataHaven, unveiling key findings to legislators, legislative staff, nonprofit leaders, policy advocates, members of the press and more. The full report and an executive summary can be downloaded here.
The event was co-hosted by DataHaven and the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven and The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, both of which released their regional CWI reports. Collectively, the three regions represent 74 towns & cities and close to 2.4 million CT residents — 68% of the state’s population.
The Fairfield County Community Wellbeing Index 2023 is a three-year update to a core community indicators report that draws on federal, state, and local data sources, including the DataHaven Community Wellbeing Survey, to describe the quality of life in neighborhoods across the state. DataHaven interviewed thousands of people to gather information about issues such as public health, economic development, safety, and civic vitality.
The findings show that Black and Latino residents, as well as other communities of color, and those with low income face persistent disparities which negatively impact a range of factors including health outcomes, educational opportunities, and economic mobility. These disparities did not happen by accident but are the result of historical systemic barriers to opportunity and disinvestment in urban communities – many of which are still woven into the fabric of our institutions.
“In addition to grant money, Connecticut needs public policies to remove systemic barriers that silence too many voices, barriers that impede far too many people’s ability to live in affordable, safe, and healthy homes in higher opportunity communities with access to good jobs, quality schools, healthy foods, and recreational spaces,” said Mendi Blue Paca, President & CEO of Fairfield County’s Community Foundation.”By taking time to understand facts like those found in the Community Wellbeing Index, we can all learn about how our neighbors are experiencing life in Connecticut.”
EXPLORE KEY FINDINGS
Fairfield County ranks 12th out of the 100 largest US metro areas in terms of community wellbeing, but disparities are localized by town and demographics including race.
The child poverty rate ranges from 3% in Fairfield County’s six wealthiest towns, to 38% in Bridgeport.
People of color constitute 21% of residents ages 65 and over in Fairfield County, and 47% of residents under 18.
In 2021, Black and Latino mortgage applicants were more than twice as likely as white applicants to have their applications rejected on the basis of either credit score or debt-to-income ratio.
58% of white residents live in a higher income neighborhoods, compared to 8% percent of Black residents and 16% of Latino residents.
52% of renters in Fairfield County are cost-burdened, meaning they put more than 30% of their monthly income toward housing costs.
While half of Black and Latino households in Fairfield County are cost-burdened, only a third of white households in the region are.