Statewide Survey Sheds Light on Wellbeing in Connecticut 

By Max Friedman 

People Sitting At Table Eating Food In Homeless Shelter

A newly released survey of thousands of Connecticut residents provides current information on how people in each city and town feel about their lives, health and communities.

DataHaven, a New Haven-based nonprofit group specializing in local public data, released their Community Wellbeing Survey in late November. The survey reached nearly 17,000 people in each Connecticut municipality as well as some in adjacent Westchester County, New York. It asked questions about topics including neighborhood safety and amenities, emotional and physical health, and employment and economic status.

You can explore the survey results with a helpful interactive navigator from TrendCT. Here are some health-related highlights:

  • The survey found that 4.9% of Connecticut adults lack health insurance. This figure is in the middle of the range from AccessHealthCT’s estimate of 3.8% and the U.S. Census Bureau’s 6.9% estimate. In the Greater New Haven area, the rate fell from 10% in 2012 to 4% in 2015. It is important to note that AccessHealthCT is measuring the total population, including children, who are more likely to be have health insurance.
  • In the past 12 months, 21% of respondents put off or postponed getting medical care they thought they needed. Of them, 49% put off care because of cost concerns, the doctor or hospital wouldn’t accept the health insurance of 16%, and the health plan wouldn’t pay for the treatment of 28%.
  • 14% of respondents do not have one person or place they think of as their personal doctor or health care provider. Of that, 71% say that is because they have none at all, while 25% have more than one personal doctor.
  • Low-income respondents were the most likely to have received care in the emergency room. 36% of adults with incomes between $15,000 to $30,000 per year visited the ER, compared to 21% of those making between $75,000 and $100,000.

DataHaven also has profile pages of each city and town from the Census. You can see, for example, that West Hartford has an overall poverty rate of 7.9% compared to Hartford’s 34.4% and an overall state rate of 10.5%. You can listen to Mark Abraham of DataHaven discuss the survey on Where We Live on WNPR.

This data on what actual people think about their communities and lives is immensely helpful in an increasingly data-driven policy environment.

Instead of simply focusing on how to make health care the most economically efficient service possible, policymakers should remember that healthcare should be serving the needs of the public.

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