Community Connection

Individuals who feel a sense of security, belonging, and trust in their community have better health than those who feel isolated or marginalized.

According to the 2018 National Survey of Health Attitudes, which included a Sense of Community Index, 11% of adults reported a strong sense of membership in their communities, up from 8% in 2015. Nineteen percent reported a strong emotional connection to their communities, up from 15% in 2015. Both of those changes over time are statistically significant. There was also a small, but statistically significant difference in geography, with more adults living in rural U.S. areas (13%) reporting strong community membership relative to those living in urban areas (11%). Research shows that if people improve their feelings of belonging, trust, and security, they are likely to be healthier. When people feel a greater connection to their community, they are more inclined to take action to improve their own health and the health of others.

SOURCE: National Survey of National Health Attitudes, RWJF and RAND 2015 and 2018

  • Adults Reporting Strong Sense of Membership and Emotional Connection to Community

  • Adults Reporting Strong Sense of Membership, by age

  • Adults Reporting Strong Emotional Connection, by age

  • Adults Reporting Strong Sense of Membership, By Geography

  • Adults Reporting Strong Emotional Connection, By Geography

Valued Investment in Community Health

A key sign of community well-being is the value people place on—and how highly they prioritize—investments in health and well-being. Examples include investments in parks and improved accessibility for those with limited mobility.

Compared to 2015, fewer adults in the U.S. in 2018 (31% vs. 29%) did not prioritize any investments in five key areas of community health and well-being: support for equal opportunities for health, healthy food, decent housing, alternative transportation options, and safe places for physical activity. There are notable racial/ethnic differences, with more white (33%) and Asian (37%) adults endorsing no community health investments relative to black and Hispanic/Latinx adults (17%, 15%, respectively). An increase in the number of U.S. adults who do value these kinds of investments would support greater action, across sectors, to address the social and environmental factors that drive health and well-being.

SOURCE: National Survey of National Health Attitudes, RWJF and RAND 2015 and 2018

  • ADULTS REPORTING COMMUNITY HEALTH INVESTMENT AS TOP PRIORITY, BY NUMBER OF INVESTMENTS

  • ADULTS REPORTING NO PRIORITY IN COMMUNITY HEALTH INVESTMENT, BY INVESTMENT

  • ADULTS WHO SELECTED TO NOT PRIORITIZE ANY OPTIONS FOR COMMUNITY HEALTH, BY RACE/ETHNICITY