Place Matters, Community Matters

We know that where you live has an impact on your opportunity to live a long and healthy life, but this has little to do with where the pin drops on the map.  Rather, it is the contours of each neighborhood–it’s DNA– that influences health.  Every community has strengths, even those facing the most challenges.  The Health Opportunity Index is designed to help residents identify which of the factors are supporting health opportunity in their communities and which may be holding them back.  Our main dashboards allow communities to examine the HOI’s broad profiles–the chromosomes–that influence health.  Our Profile dashboards dive deep into the profiles and allow communities to examine indicators–the genes–that may affect the opportunity to live a long and health life in each community.

The Consumer Opportunity Profile

The Consumer Opportunity Profile examines the access each community has to basic consumer resources.  These include not just the basic staples needed to survive, such as food and housing, but also the tools needed to succeed in modern society, such as education and access to credit.  While some of these are day to day concerns like access to healthy food choices others represent the resources community members have accumulated of consumer resources.  Education, for instance, is measured in years of schooling.  Likewise home ownership usually requires savings, good credit scores and stable employment to secure a mortgage loan. The dashboards below allow you to explore your community in detail on the following factors included in the Consumer Opportunity Profile:

1. Affordability Indicator: The proportion of a community’s income spent on housing and transportation. This indicates how much income remains for other priorities, including food, health care and social activities.
2. Education Indicator: The average number of years of schooling among adults in the community. It can range from zero (those with no formal schooling) to 20 (those with a doctorate/professional degree).
3. Food Accessibility Indicator: A measure of access to food by low income people within a community. It measures the proportion of the low income community that has a large grocery store within 1 mile in urban areas or 10 miles in rural areas.
4. Material Deprivation Indicator: Based on the Towsend Material Deprivation Index, it examines the private material resources available to households in a community. 4 indicators make up Towsend:

      • overcrowding (>2 persons per room)
      • unemployment
      • % of persons no vehicle or car
      • % of person who rent

Use the dashboards below to explore the Consumer Opportunity Profile and its indicators in your area.

A Closer Look

Health opportunity varies broadly across Virginia. It also varies significantly block by block and street by street within local health districts. Use the map below to examine the Consumer Opportunity Profile at the Census Tract level in your community. Census Tracts are statistical areas created by the US Census Bureau that roughly equate to neighborhoods or groups of neighborhoods with similar characteristics.