EconomyPriority Area: Economy

Why is economy important to health?

Economic factors including poverty, employment opportunities and access to affordable housing have been shown to influence access to health care and health outcomes. According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), loss of jobs (as during a recession) is clearly associated with reductions in health coverage. Lack of health coverage affects residents’ ability to access preventive health care and other health services. In addition, it has been shown that stable, affordable housing may improve health outcomes by freeing up family resources for healthy food and health care expenses, decreasing stress, providing access to healthy options for families in neighborhoods, and reducing environmental exposures from unstable and unsafe housing options.

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How do the goals align with the Countywide Vision?

The Countywide Vision contains twin priorities of improving the overall economic performance of the region and growing an economy that is in alignment with our workforce are highly complementary. Additionally, it focuses on encouraging a complete price range of housing from affordable to luxury and the improvement of livability and energy efficiency through smart planning, design, and technology as well as addressing the needs of special populations such as homeless, seniors and veterans.

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What did the data show?

According to the Vital Signs Final Report, 19% of San Bernardino County residents were living in poverty in 2011, a slightly higher rate than in California (under 17%). The County has experienced an increase in poverty from 12% of residents in 2007, to 19% in 2011. In addition, a total of 2,321 individuals experiencing homelessness were counted in San Bernardino County in 2013, a decrease of 555 people from 2011.

See Economy data at the Community Vital Signs Data Portal

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