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Toward a Community Health
Report Card - Electronic Version


Healthy Cities' Measures of Community Well-Being

The Healthy Cities initiative, which has followed the WHO Health for All by the Year 2000, has triggered great interest and activity in the development of what, in our model, would be called measures of community well-being. There is no consensus, nor is that the intent of the Healthy Cities initiative, on a set of community well-being measures. Each city is expected, through a broad-based, participative approach, to develop their own list of indicators. The U.S. Health Corporation has, however, attempted to facilitate this process by developing a "Healthy Community Assessment: Standard Indicators Menu." This "Menu" identifies 11 indicator areas and for each of them provides a menu of possible indicators. They have also taken the additional step of specifying "Basic Need Indicators," which might be interpreted as a minimum list for all to consider, somewhat analogous to the CDC indicator list for the U.S. The 11 areas with the Basic Need Indicators, as well as some alternatives, are listed below:

Natural Environment
Days with air quality in good range
Health Status
% without health insurance
% without emergency medical transport
Infant mortality rate
% low birth weight ratio
% reporting hunger
% using food banks
% functionally illiterate adults
Unemployment rate/# fulltime equivalent jobs
% children living below poverty line
Gini coefficient/distribution of income class
Homeless rate
Census of soup lines
City financial support per capita
% people commuting less than 25 minutes
Community Safety
% people feeling safe walking alone at night
% people reporting being victim of crime
Social Environment
% people reporting less than 5 social contacts per week
% people registered who vote in municipal elections
Built Environment
Perceived annoyance/urban stress index


Prepared by

Carl H. Slater, M.D., Associate Professor, Health Services Organization University of Texas School of Public Health Houston, TX Phone:(713)500-9183  FAX:(713)500-9171 
E-mail [email protected]