Valley Community Foundation Releases Snapshot of Quality of Life Indicators for Lower Naugatuck Valley

The snapshot represents the start of a multi-year process, which will culminate in 2016 with the release of a comprehensive Community Index

DERBY (May 27, 2015) - The Valley Community Foundation (VCF) is pleased to announce the release of The Valley Now: A 2015 Snapshot, representing the start of a multi-year process that will culminate in the creation of a community index for the Lower Naugatuck Valley towns in 2016. The snapshot report includes a brief summary of changing demographics and population growth, health indicators, employment rates, education and student achievement, income and accessibility to basic needs among residents in the region.

"This snapshot report represents the start of an ongoing commitment to learn the changing needs and opportunities in the Valley," said Sharon Closius, President & CEO of the Valley Community Foundation. "A comprehensive community index will be published next year, which will include the data of a statewide wellbeing survey conducted by DataHaven and the Siena College Research Institute. Your answers are critical in helping us paint an accurate picture of the Valley. Please answer the call."

Last year, VCF hosted an advisory committee of key stakeholders and nonprofit organizations to discuss critical focus areas affecting the Valley and to define the scope of this snapshot report, which expands upon the 2010 Valley CARES Quality of Life Report. This snapshot looks at a range of factors affecting quality of life and wellbeing in the region, which includes the five towns served by VCF: Ansonia, Derby, Oxford, Seymour and Shelton, as well as Beacon Falls and Naugatuck. The addition of these two towns, which were included in the region as part of the All-American City Award in 2000, will help provide continuity and a historical comparison to the study of economic, health and education trends within the region. The full 12-page snapshot report is available here.

According to the preliminary snapshot report, the Lower Naugatuck Valley has seen a rise in overall population since 2000, but a decline in families with young children and the under-18 population in general. Just over half of all Valley adults report being in good health. Performance of the Valley's economy is in line with the rest of the state, and the report indicates that the Valley has a strong middle class. A third of all Valley residents, however, struggle to afford basic needs such as food and housing, and student achievement varies widely between schools in the region. Valley residents who follow VCF on its Facebook and Twitter accounts will get the latest information from the 2015 Valley Snapshot report and ongoing survey.

Data collection for this snapshot was provided by DataHaven, a nonprofit with a 25-year history of collecting, sharing, and interpreting public data for effective decision-making throughout Greater New Haven and Connecticut. DataHaven, in conjunction with the Siena College Research Institute, will be conducting a statewide survey over the next few months. Data from its 2015 Community Wellbeing Survey will be featured in the Valley's community index report, which will be published in 2016.

Residents are encouraged to pick up the phone (calls will come from a 518 area code) and take the time to answer the survey questions, as each participant will contribute to high-quality, meaningful data collection.