DataHaven Completes Community Wellbeing Survey

(The Community Foundation of Greater New Britain was among dozens of charitable organizations, government agencies, health care providers, universities and others to fund the recently completed 2015 Community Wellbeing Survey of Connecticut residents conducted by New Haven-based DataHaven. Of the more than 16,000 state residents surveyed, nearly 1,000 reside in Berlin, New Britain, Plainville or Southington. The Community Foundation will use the study’s results as part of its strategic planning process, and will share the study with local school districts and municipal officials for their own planning purposes. The Foundation will be releasing more detailed findings for each of the towns it serves throughout 2016.)

DataHaven Announces Completion of Largest-Ever Survey on Neighborhood-Level Quality of Life, Health, and Happiness

by Mark Abraham, DataHaven

New Haven, Conn., November 23, 2015 – How happy are you? Have you seen a dentist lately? Is it safe to walk in your neighborhood? Is local government responsive to your needs? Do you need more education or training to advance in your current job? These are some of the more than 100 questions that nearly 17,000 representative residents answered as part of the 2015 DataHaven Community Wellbeing Survey.

DataHaven, a non-profit group leading the collection and study of neighborhood-level public data on key social and economic trends, announced the completion of the survey this week. It is believed to be the most intensive effort of its kind in the United States.

For the first time, this program has created a detailed portrait of social and economic conditions in towns throughout Connecticut and adjacent sections of New York State.

“The purpose of the DataHaven Community Wellbeing Survey is to produce the highest-quality, neighborhood-level information on issues that are most meaningful to local residents,” says Mark Abraham, Executive Director of DataHaven. “The initiative is helping to strengthen collaborations between dozens of organizations and agencies that are working together to measure social progress and improve population well-being at the statewide and local levels.” The metrics in the survey complement traditional statistics on topics such as employment, personal income, reported crimes, tax base, and industry output.

Seeing the potential impact of its results, over 50 of Connecticut’s leading foundations, hospitals, community institutions, and government agencies have supported the program this year. Major funders are located in Hartford, New Haven, Bridgeport, Stamford, Waterbury, New Britain, Norwalk, Danbury, Greenwich, Middletown, Derby, Bristol, Norwich, New London, Manchester and other cities.

Said Maggie Osborn, President of the Connecticut Council for Philanthropy, “The deep commitment from eight Community Foundations – including Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, Connecticut Community Foundation, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, Valley Community Foundation, Community Foundation of Greater New Britain, Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut, and Main Street Community Foundation in particular – enabled this project to expand and collect data from over 16,000 in-depth interviews that will reveal strengths and challenges about the quality of life across Connecticut that will inform and shape the work of philanthropy.”

DataHaven designed its 2015 Community Wellbeing Survey with the support of nearly 100 local government, academic, health-care, and community partners as well as a panel of epidemiologists and survey research experts. The 20-minute survey, conducted by the Siena College Research Institute (SRI) in Loudonville, New York, involved landline and cell phone interviews with nearly 17,000 randomly-selected adults throughout Connecticut and adjacent sections of Westchester County between April and October, 2015. (Weighted estimates from the survey carry an overall margin of error of +/- 1%).

For the first time, the DataHaven survey can provide neighborhood- and regional-level information not available from any other source on community vitality, health, family economic security, and individual happiness. Other topics such as civic engagement, transportation, housing, and employment – even satisfaction with government and community life – are included.

In-depth interviews were completed with 16,219 randomly-selected adults in every Connecticut city and town. Although Connecticut does well when compared to national and international averages of health, income, and education (for example, ranking as the top state in the United States in the Measure of America’s Human Development Index), results from the DataHaven Community Wellbeing Survey demonstrate that disparities are still great, with a sizeable share of residents continuing to face significant barriers to economic success, safety, health, and other critical aspects of well-being.

Detailed statewide and local results will be made available to the public over the coming weeks, allowing regions, clusters of towns, and all of Connecticut’s larger towns the ability to look at data for their population separate and apart from the balance of the state. Due to the complexity of this first-of-its kind dataset, data and additional analyses will be posted on the DataHaven website and shared on an ongoing basis throughout the next several months, both by DataHaven as well as each of its community-based or statewide partners. Please contact DataHaven for details or to request information.

Additional analyses of the DataHaven Community Wellbeing Survey will be published in a series of regional and statewide reports throughout 2016.

(For more information and to read the complete news release, visit www.ctdatahaven.org)

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