Sharecare Community Well-Being Index Finds Broad Improvements in US Metro Areas in 2020 but Substantial Declines for Certain Sub-populations

Sharecare’s Community Well-Being Index, 2020 Metro Area and Country Report showed broad improvement across all measures of well-being except for financial well-being. These findings echo the Sharecare’s report of findings by state, published earlier this year. Because 2020 marked the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, certain sub-populations saw substantial declines in physical well-being and health. Included in those groups were those who faced high financial stress and insecurity and racial and ethnic groups who were disproportionately harmed by the virus. Life expectancy for them saw the steepest year-over-year decline since World War II. For 2020, the Community Well-Being Index ranked San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA first among the 383 metropolitan statistical areas (MSA) in the United States and Pine Bluffs AR placed last.

For the second year in a row, the San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA MSA ranked #1 out of all 383 communities. Contributing to San Francisco’s high levels of community well-being include a strong performance across both the social determinants of health and the individual health factors. Other top-ranked communities included: San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA (#2), Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV (#3), Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH (#4), and Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT (#5). 

Meanwhile, Pine Bluff, AK ranked last in this year’s Index, ranking in the bottom quintile for eight out of 10 domains. Low levels of social networks and civic engagement and community recognition contributed to Pine Bluff’s last place ranking. Other bottom-ranked metro areas included Farmington, NM (#382), Sumter, SC (#381), Las Cruces, NM (#380), and McAllen- Edinburg-Mission, TX (#379).

Overall, the highest-ranking MSAs had commonalities that included high percentages of individuals who indicate they have enough money to do what they want; high percentages of individuals who indicate their city is the perfect place for them; lower levels of depression risk; and lower levels of chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart attacks than the lowest-ranked MSAs. The metro areas in the top quintile of the Index reported 1.5 times more parks per square mile than those in the bottom quintile. Median household income on average was 1.5 times higher for the top quintile than for the bottom quintile.

The Rankings: The Sharecare Community Well-Being Index Evaluates Health Risks across Five Domains Related to individual Health Risk and Five Related to Social Determinants of Health

The Sharecare Community Well-Being Index was developed in partnership with Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH), anchored in its Biostatistics and Epidemiology Data Analytics Center (BEDAC). Measured on a scale of 0 to 100 with 100 representing the greatest possible well-being, Sharecare’s Community Well-Being Index evaluates health risk across 10 domains: five domains to represent individual health risk and an additional five to understand the underlying social circumstances in which individuals are born, live, work, and play.

Individual Health Factors:

  • Physical: Having good health and enough energy to get things done daily
  • Financial: Managing your economic life to increase security and reduce stress
  • Social: Having supportive relationships and love in your life
  • Community: Liking where you live, feeling safe, and having pride in your community
  • Purpose: Liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals

Social Determinants of Health:

  • Healthcare Access: How easily community members can find healthcare facilities or resources
  • Food Access: The proximity of healthy food retailers and grocery stores to community members’ homes
  • Resource Access: The proximity of key community resources such as libraries, churches, senior employment, and more
  • Housing & Transportation: What home values are, how community members use public transportation, and more
  • Economic Security: Whether community members are employed, insured, and more

Sharecare Continues to Improve the Community Well-Being Index to Measure What Matters to a Healthy Community

With continued innovation across data collection, index methods, and prediction, the goal of the Sharecare Community Well-Being Index Reports is to foster sustainable, measurable improvements to population level well-being via collaborations across public, governmental, not-profit and private partners. If you are interested in collaborating with Sharecare across research, data innovation and intervention, please reach out to cwbi@sharecare.com 

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