RI Life Index; Presented in partnership: Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, Brown School of Public Health

2019: ZIP Code is more important than genetic code.

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island originally set out to create a “life index,” armed with a growing body of evidence that when it comes to health outcomes and overall well-being, zip code is more important than genetic code. Where people are born and live in Rhode Island has a profound impact on their lives. We conducted a first of its kind survey of Rhode Islanders’ perceptions of social determinants of health and well-being as an initial step to inform our future community investments and philanthropy.

2019 RDD Scores

2019 RI LIFE INDEX

Topics include access to affordable housing, childcare and activities for youth, quality education, affordable and nutritious food, good jobs, medical care, programs for seniors, transportation services, feeling safe at home, and cost of living.
RI Life Index: 62
Chart breakdown: Core City: 58 (broken down by ages less than and over 55) Non-Core: 64 (broken down by ages less than and over 55)

Summary: Perceptions of Community

PERCEPTIONS OF COMMUNITY QUALITY OF COMMUNITY

DEFINITION
Quality of community scoring represents a summary of how residents rate social and economic aspects of their community, including the following topics:

  • Access to childcare
  • Activities for youth
  • Employment
  • Food
  • Housing
  • Utilities

QUESTION WORDING: For each statement, tell me if that statement is completely descriptive, somewhat descriptive, not very descriptive, or not descriptive at all of your community.

Quality of Community: 52
Chart breakdown: Core City: 46 (broken down by ages less than and over 55) Non-Core: 54 (broken down by ages less than and over 55)

PERCEPTIONS OF COMMUNITY COMMUNITY LIFE

DEFINITION
Community life scoring represents a summary of how residents perceive the lived experiences of typical individuals in their community, looking at the following areas:

  • Access to childcare
  • Employment
  • Education
  • Food
  • Housing
  • Transportation
  • Healthcare
  • Recreational facilities and internet
  • Personal safety
  • Risk of incarceration

QUESTION WORDING: For each statement, please tell me how likely each is for a typical person living in your community: very likely; somewhat likely; somewhat unlikely; and very unlikely

Community Life: 70
Chart breakdown: Core City: 66 (broken down by ages less than and over 55) Non-Core: 72 (broken down by ages less than and over 55)

Perceptions of Community

PERCEPTIONS OF COMMUNITY JOBS

DEFINITION
How do residents rate job opportunities and job training programs?
 
TOPICS: Availability of jobs; employment with living wage; access to adult education

Jobs: 56
Chart breakdown: Core City: 52 (broken down by ages less than and over 55) Non-Core: 57 (broken down by ages less than and over 55)

PERCEPTIONS OF COMMUNITY HOUSING

DEFINITION
How do residents rate access to affordable, quality housing?

TOPICS: Cost of housing; difficulty paying for utilities; access to internet connection

Housing: 48
Chart breakdown: Core City: 44 (broken down by ages less than and over 55) Non-Core: 50 (broken down by ages less than and over 55)

PERCEPTIONS OF COMMUNITY FOOD

DEFINITION
How do residents rate access to affordable, nutritious food?

TOPICS: Access to nutritious affordable food; convenience of location of nutritious food

Food: 73
Chart breakdown: Core City: 67 (broken down by ages less than and over 55) Non-Core: 75 (broken down by ages less than and over 55)

PERCEPTIONS OF COMMUNITY TRANSPORTATION

DEFINITION
How do residents rate the availability of safe and reliable transportation? 

TOPICS: Safe public transportation stops; special transportation services for people with disabilities and older adults; available transportation when needed 

Transportation: 71
Chart breakdown: Core City: 74 (broken down by ages less than and over 55) Non-Core: 69 (broken down by ages less than and over 55)

PERCEPTIONS OF COMMUNITY SAFETY

DEFINITION
How safe do residents feel in and outside of their homes? 

TOPICS: Feelings of safety in neighborhood; feelings of safety in home; risk of incarceration 

Safety: 77
Chart breakdown: Core City: 67 (broken down by ages less than and over 55) Non-Core: 81 (broken down by ages less than and over 55)

PERCEPTIONS OF COMMUNITY OLDER ADULTS

DEFINITION
How do residents rate the availability of services in their community for older adults?

TOPICS: Availability of social and civic programs; quality of healthcare services; ability for people to age in place

Older Adults: 63
Chart breakdown: Core City: 59 (broken down by ages less than and over 55) Non-Core: 65 (broken down by ages less than and over 55)

PERCEPTIONS OF COMMUNITY CHILDREN

DEFINITION
How do residents rate programs and services available for children?

TOPICS: Place to raise children; access to childcare; access to recreation facilities; activities for youth 

Children: 63
Chart breakdown: Core City: 59 (broken down by ages less than and over 55) Non-Core: 65 (broken down by ages less than and over 55)

PERCEPTIONS OF COMMUNITY ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE

DEFINITION
How do residents rate access to healthcare?

TOPICS: Routine medical care; mental health or substance abuse treatment if needed

Access to Healthcare: 73
Chart breakdown: Core City: 71 (broken down by ages less than and over 55) Non-Core: 73 (broken down by ages less than and over 55)

Actual Experiences

ACTUAL EXPERIENCES HOUSEHOLD ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE

DEFINITION
To what extent are residents able to access needed healthcare? 

TOPICS: Prescription medicines; over-the-counter medicines; dental care; vision care; any other healthcare 

Household Access to Healthcare: 85
Chart breakdown: Core City: 81 (broken down by ages less than and over 55) Non-Core: 87 (broken down by ages less than and over 55)

ACTUAL EXPERIENCES SOCIAL INTEGRATION

DEFINITION
To what extent are residents socially connected to others in their community? 

TOPICS: Visited with family friends or neighbors in person; talked to family or friends on the phone; kept up with friends or family using emails, text messages, or social media 

Social Integration: 76
Chart breakdown: Core City: 75 (broken down by ages less than and over 55) Non-Core: 76 (broken down by ages less than and over 55)

ACTUAL EXPERIENCES PERSONAL SELF-RATED HEALTH

DEFINITION
How do residents rate their own health? 

TOPICS: Overall health; mental health 

Personal Self-Rated Health: 74
Chart breakdown: Core City: 72 (broken down by ages less than and over 55) Non-Core: 75 (broken down by ages less than and over 55)

ACTUAL EXPERIENCES NEEDED MENTAL HEALTH OR SUBSTANCE ABUSE TREATMENT

Mental Health or Substance Abuse Treatment: 65%
Chart breakdown: Core City: 68% (broken down by ages less than and over 55) Non-Core: 64% (broken down by ages less than and over 55)

AMONG THOSE WHO NEEDED IT:
Were you able to access mental health or substance abuse treatment?

Able to Get Treatment: 62%
Chart breakdown: Core City: 59% (broken down by ages less than and over 55) Non-Core: 64% (broken down by ages less than and over 55)
Percentage of respondents who said usually or always.

ACTUAL EXPERIENCES EMERGENCY ROOM USE IN PAST 12 MONTHS

DEFINITION
How many times have you visited an emergency room for a medical issue? 

Emergency Room Use In Past 12 Months: 41%
Chart breakdown: Core City: 43% (broken down by ages less than and over 55) Non-Core: 40% (broken down by ages less than and over 55)
Percentage of respondents who indicated one or more visits to the emergency room for any reason in the past 12 months. 

ACTUAL EXPERIENCES DISCRIMINATION IN PAST 12 MONTHS

DEFINITION
How often have you been concerned about being treated unfairly in a healthcare setting because of your race, ethnicity, or some other personal characteristic?

Discrimination: 7%
Chart breakdown: Core City: 9%; Non-Core: 7%
Percentage of respondents who said usually or always.
Note: Since only approximately 150 residents statewide endorsed this item, we could not reliably divide the sample into any categories other than Core City and Non-Core.

ACTUAL EXPERIENCES OPIOID EPIDEMIC

DEFINITION
Have you, an immediate family member, extended family member, or friend abused opioids? 

Opioid Epidemic: 31%
Chart breakdown: Core City: 28% (broken down by ages less than and over 55) Non-Core: 34% (broken down by ages less than and over 55)
Chart breakdown: Self or Immediate Family: 12% (broken down by Core City and Non-Core) Friends: 19% (broken down by Core City and Non-Core)