Feeling safe outside of the home promotes trust, school attendance, and physical activity. The degree to which young people feel safe getting to and from school is critically important to their ability to stay healthy, exercise, and complete their education.
In the 2017 Monitoring the Future survey, more black youth (17%) and Hispanic/Latinx youth (14%) felt unsafe walking to or from school compared to white youth (8%). This represents a slight increase in feeling unsafe for black youth (up from 15%) and slight decrease for Hispanic youth (down from 16%) from 2014. Decreases in the percentages of students across all racial/ethnic groups feeling unsafe may represent improvements in access to school, outdoor activities, and other factors that are key to health and well-being. This measure may also signal improved community safety and equity.
U.S. YOUTH WHO REPORT FEELING UNSAFE GOING TO AND FROM SCHOOL, BY RACE/ETHNICITY
U.S. YOUTH WHO REPORT FEELING UNSAFE GOING TO AND FROM SCHOOL, BY GENDER
Public libraries are critical community hubs for building a Culture of Health. They provide access to information and resources, along with child and adult learning programs, safe spaces for social interaction, and may also provide places of refuge during heat waves, storms, and disasters.
According to a biennial survey conducted by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, in 2016, there were 5.3 libraries for every 100,000 people in the United States, very similar to the rate in 2014. An increase in the number of libraries would indicate improved access to resources that help residents participate in communities and social service programs, including those that promote health and well-being.
Average Number of U.S Public Libraries, per 100,000 People
AVERAGE NUMBER OF U.S. PUBLIC LIBRARIES PER 100,000 PEOPLE, BY % OF RACIAL/ETHNIC MINORITY POPULATION
Walkability is a key contributor to health and well-being, which allows community members to get to places safely and easily, and increases opportunities for physical activity and social connection.
The national walkability index is defined as a composite of various factors that affect mobility, including the ability to walk with ease by connected streets; how close houses and apartments are to each other; how often residents have to use their car to travel; how far to a public transit stop; and the mix of jobs available nearby. According to analysis conducted in 2019 using data from 2016 developed by Urban Design 4 Health, the nation’s median score is 22 on a scale of 1 to 100, and 50% of the U.S. population lives in areas above this score. This national score increased slightly from 2013 data, which showed a median walkability score of 20. An increase in the walkability median value indicates that communities are doing better to encourage walking as a safe, healthy, and convenient form of mobility; expanding access to services that does not require a vehicle; and increasing the means for residents to interact with one another.
SOURCE: Urban Design 4 Health, Inc., 2019
U.S. WALKABILITY MEDIAN VALUE, BY REGION
U.S. WALKABILITY MEDIAN VALUE, BY GEOGRAPHY