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

2021: Health is more than healthcare

Health is so much more than what happens within the healthcare system. We know health outcomes do not rest solely on medical interventions, but also greatly depend on meeting basic human needs.

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) and the Brown University School of Public Health are proud to present the third annual RI Life Index, which captures Rhode Islanders’ perceptions of social determinants of health and well-being. For BCBSRI, the Index serves as a driver of our vision to passionately lead a state of health and well-being across Rhode Island. We believe the Index will help us to build healthier communities throughout Rhode Island. This is our long-term commitment. We must continue to listen, learn and act.

2021 RDD/CBO 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.

2021 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: 63; Chart breakdown: Core City: 57 (broken down by Latinx, Black, and White ages less than and over 55) Non-Core: 65 (broken down by Latinx, Black, and White ages less than and over 55)

Summary: Perceptions of Community

The report begins at the widest point of the lens, with summaries of perceptions of community that incorporate a range of social determinants of health, and quickly moves into a breakdown of those key factors.

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: 57
Chart breakdown: Core City: 52 (broken down by Latinx, Black, and White ages less than and over 55) Non-Core: 59 (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, in 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 Life: 71
Chart breakdown: Core City: 63 (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)

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: 74
Chart breakdown: Core City: 63 (broken down by Latinx, Black, and White ages less than and over 55) Non-Core: 78 (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: 67
Chart breakdown: Core City: 64 (broken down by Latinx, Black, and White ages less than and over 55) Non-Core: 69 (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: 73
Chart breakdown: Core City: 66 (broken down by Latinx, Black, and White ages less than and over 55) Non-Core: 77 (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: 40
Chart breakdown: Core City: 37 (broken down by Latinx, Black, and White ages less than and over 55) Non-Core: 41 (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: 27 (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: 57
Chart breakdown: Core City: 53 (broken down by Latinx, Black, and White ages less than and over 55) Non-Core: 59 (broken down by Latinx, Black, and White ages less than and over 55)

PERCEPTIONS OF COMMUNITY HEALTHCARE ACCESS

DEFINITION
How do residents rate their ability to access healthcare?
 
TOPICS: Access to routine medical care; access to mental health or substance abuse treatment

Healthcare Access: 73
Chart breakdown: Core City: 68 (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)

Actual Experiences

Here we show data on the actual experiences of respondents with regard to their economic situation, food security, access to technology, and racial equity.

ACTUAL EXPERIENCES RACIAL EQUITY

DEFINITION
How do residents rate racial equity at work, when seeking healthcare, and in personal interactions?
 
TOPICS: Treatment at work; experiences seeking healthcare; unfair treatment; fear for personal safety

Racial Equity: 74
Chart breakdown: Core City: 71 (broken down by Latinx, Black, and White ages less than and over 55) Non-Core: 75 (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: 88
Chart breakdown: Core City: 83 (broken down by Latinx, Black, and White ages less than and over 55) Non-Core: 91 (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: 64
Chart breakdown: Core City: 57 (broken down by Latinx, Black, and White ages less than and over 55) Non-Core: 67 (broken down by Latinx, Black, and White ages less than and over 55)

ACTUAL EXPERIENCES ACCESS TO TECHNOLOGY

DEFINITION
How do residents rate their access to technology?

TOPICS: High-speed Internet access; smartphone access

Access to Technology: 88
Chart breakdown: Core City: 88 (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)

Special Topics

Here you will see findings from this year’s special topics, reported as percentages rather than POP scores.

HEALTH MANAGEMENT CONFIDENCE IN MANAGING HEALTH PROBLEMS

DEFINITION
Thinking about your health, how confident are you that you can manage any health problems you have? (Percent responding Somewhat or Very Confident)

Managing Health Problems: 86% (broken down by 44% somewhat and 43% very); Core City: 86% (broken down by 44% somewhat and 41% very); None-Core: 87% (broken down by 43% somewhat and 43% very)

DEFINITION
Was there a time in the past 12 months when you or anyone else in your household needed to see a doctor but did NOT go for medical care?

Managing Health Problems: 26% (Yes); Core City: 28% (Yes), None-Core: 26% (Yes)

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: 37% (broken down by core city and non-core)
Cost: 31% (broken down by core city and non-core)
Other: 22% (broken down by core city and non-core)
Didn't Have a Doctor: 11% (broken down by core city and non-core)

SPECIAL TOPICS INTERNET & TECHNOLOGY

DEFINITION
Overall, how confident do you feel using computers, smartphones, or other electronic devices to do the things you need to do online?

Internet and Technology: 85% (broken down by 44% somewhat and 43% very); Core City: 88% (broken down by 25% somewhat and 63% very); None-Core: 84% (broken down by 24% somewhat and 60% very)

DEFINITION
Please tell me whether the following applies to your household: You have high-speed internet access at home.

Internet and Technology: 86% (Yes); Core City: 81% (Yes), None-Core: 87% (Yes)
For those indicating they do not have high-speed internet access at home (14%): Please tell me whether any of the following are reasons why you do not have high-speed internet access at home.

The monthly cost of a home subscription is too expensive

Home Subscription Cost: 55%; Core City: 63%, None-Core: 49%
The cost of a computer is too expensive
Computer Cost: 31%; Core City: 35%, None-Core: 29%
Your smartphone lets you do everything online that you need to do
Smartphone: Home Subscription: 21%; Core City: 25%, None-Core: 19%
Don’t like/don’t use computers and/or internet
Computer and Internet Use: 20%; Core City: 12%, None-Core: 25%
You have other options for internet access outside of your home
Internet Access: 18%; Core City: 18%, None-Core: 19%
High-speed internet service is not available where you live, or is not available at an acceptable speed
Internet Availability: 9%; Core City: 8%, None-Core: 9%