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

2020: 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.

What you will find in this document are measures of Rhode Island residents’ perceptions about health and well-being in our state. We wanted to hear from Rhode Islanders themselves about where they feel they and their communities are on the spectrum of health and well-being.

2020 RDD Scores

We show here a composite score of essential drivers of health and well-being as defined for the RI Life Index. The topic areas comprise the RI Life Index, focused on community life and quality of community elements, including affordable housing, quality education, and good jobs. We ask consistent questions around these topics every year so that we can address areas of concern and measure progress towards improving the overall quality of life, health, and well-being of Rhode Islanders.

2020 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: 56 (broken down by Latinx, Black, and White ages less than and over 55) Non-Core: 64 (broken down by Latinx, Black, and White 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
  • Access to affordable food
  • Cost of living
  • Availability and quality of services and programs for seniors

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: 56
Chart breakdown: Core City: 51 (broken down by Latinx, Black, and White ages less than and over 55) Non-Core: 58 (broken down by Latinx, Black, and White 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:

  • Employment
  • Education
  • Convenient locations for nutritious food
  • Access to affordable housing
  • Access to healthcare
  • Feeling safe at home

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 Health: 69
Chart breakdown: Core City: 63 (broken down by Latinx, Black, and White ages less than and over 55) Non-Core: 72 (broken down by Latinx, Black, and White ages less than and over 55)

Perceptions of Community: Topics

Here we show perceptions of specific social determinants of health.

PERCEPTIONS OF COMMUNITY CHILDREN

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

TOPICS: Place to raise children; access to quality education; activities for youth

Children: 72
Chart breakdown: Core City: 64 (broken down by Latinx, Black, and White ages less than and over 55) Non-Core: 76 (broken down by Latinx, Black, and White 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 special transportation services; availability of social and civic programs; quality of healthcare services

Older Adults: 66
Chart breakdown: Core City: 62 (broken down by Latinx, Black, and White ages less than and over 55) Non-Core: 68 (broken down by Latinx, Black, and White ages less than and over 55)

PERCEPTIONS OF COMMUNITY ACCESS TO NUTRITIOUS FOOD

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

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

Access to Nutritious Food: 71
Chart breakdown: Core City: 65 (broken down by Latinx, Black, and White ages less than and over 55) Non-Core: 73 (broken down by Latinx, Black, and White ages less than and over 55)

PERCEPTIONS OF COMMUNITY AFFORDABLE HOUSING

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

TOPICS: Cost of housing; availability of affordable housing

Affordable Housing: 44
Chart breakdown: Core City: 40 (broken down by Latinx, Black, and White ages less than and over 55) Non-Core: 45 (broken down by Latinx, Black, and White ages less than and over 55)

PERCEPTIONS OF COMMUNITY COST OF LIVING

DEFINITION
How do residents rate the cost of living in their community?

TOPICS: Affordable, high-quality childcare; cost of quality housing; difficulty paying for utilities

Cost of Living: 31
Chart breakdown: Core City: 28 (broken down by Latinx, Black, and White ages less than and over 55) Non-Core: 33 (broken down by Latinx, Black, and White ages less than and over 55)

PERCEPTIONS OF COMMUNITY JOB OPPORTUNITIES

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

Job Opportunities: 56
Chart breakdown: Core City: 52 (broken down by Latinx, Black, and White ages less than and over 55) Non-Core: 58 (broken down by Latinx, Black, and White ages less than and over 55)

Actual Experiences

ACTUAL EXPERIENCES RACIAL EQUITY

DEFINITION
How do residents rate racial equity as it pertains to work and healthcare?

TOPICS: Treatment at work; experiences seeking healthcare; unfair treatment; fear for personal safety

Racial Equity: 73
Chart breakdown: Core City: 69 (broken down by Latinx, Black, and White ages less than and over 55) Non-Core: 74 (broken down by Latinx, Black, and White ages less than and over 55)

ACTUAL EXPERIENCES ECONOMIC SITUATION

DEFINITION
How do residents rate their current financial situation?

TOPICS: Personal economic and financial situation; money in savings

Economic Situation: 61
Chart breakdown: Core City: 55 (broken down by Latinx, Black, and White ages less than and over 55) Non-Core: 64 (broken down by Latinx, Black, and White ages less than and over 55)

ACTUAL EXPERIENCES FOOD SECURITY

DEFINITION
How do residents rate their level of food security?
 
TOPICS: Worries about having enough food; financial ability to buy food

Food Security: 84
Chart breakdown: Core City: 79 (broken down by Latinx, Black, and White ages less than and over 55) Non-Core: 86 (broken down by Latinx, Black, and White ages less than and over 55)

PERCEPTIONS OF COMMUNITY HEALTHCARE ACCESS/CONCERNS

DEFINITION
How do residents rate their ability to access healthcare?

TOPICS: Access to routine medical care; access to mental health or substance abuse treatment; ability to manage health issues

Healthcare Access/Concerns: 72
Chart breakdown: Core City: 69 (broken down by Latinx, Black, and White ages less than and over 55) Non-Core: 73 (broken down by Latinx, Black, and White ages less than and over 55)

ACTUAL EXPERIENCES ACCESS TO TECHNOLOGY

DEFINITION
How do residents rate their ability to access technology?

TOPICS: High-speed Internet access; smartphone access

Access to Technology: 89
Chart breakdown: Core City: 89 (broken down by Latinx, Black, and White ages less than and over 55) Non-Core: 89 (broken down by Latinx, Black, and White ages less than and over 55)

Feeling Safe

DEFINITION
How likely is a typical person living in your community to feel safe and secure in their home?

Feeling Safe: 89%Chart breakdown: 78% (Core City), 94% (Non-core)

Healthcare Equality

DEFINITION
Making sure that the disadvantaged have an equal opportunity to be healthy is either important or a top priority.

Healthcare Equality: 97%Chart breakdown: 98% (Core City), 96% (Non-core)

Adequate Housing

DEFINITION
Making sure that there is adequate housing available for everyone who needs it is either important or a top priority.

Adequate Housing: 95%Chart breakdown: 98% (Core City), 94% (Non-core)
Note: Percent reflects responses of “somewhat or very likely”.

HEALTH MANAGEMENT REASON NOT TO SEE A DOCTOR

DEFINITION
For those indicating there was a time in the past 12 months when someone in the household needed to see a doctor but did NOT go for medical care, what was the most important reason.

Fear of COVID-19: 43% (broken down by core city and non-core)
Cost: 33% (broken down by core city and non-core)
Didn't Have a Doctor: 11% (broken down by core city and non-core)
Other: 14% (broken down by core city and non-core)