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2017 Study Conducted by Branford Community Foundation
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The Branford Community Report, recently released by the Branford Community Foundation (BCF), provides a snapshot on Branford's demographic trends and general community well being. BCF's goal in commissioning this study, in partnership with the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven and DataHaven, is to better understand the town's current community strengths and to highlight areas that may need support.
"BCF was interested in securing meaningful data to help guide our community investments," says Board Chair Stephanie Farber. "We want to be proactive in our mission to enrich the quality of life in Branford."
The report confirms that Branford residents fare well on a number of factors, including health indicators: Branford is healthier than other towns in Connecticut in terms of lower rates of smoking, chronic diseases, and visits to the dentist.
Branford's education system shows strength in a high rate of graduation: 91% of students graduate in four years, higher than other towns in out region (84%) or in the state (87%). Seventy-five percent of those who graduate on time enroll directly in college, and 56% complete a degree within 6 years. These figures are about the same percentages as other communities.
The average household in Branford earns $71,938 a year, which is similar to the median household income in the state ($70,331) and region ($66,169).
Branford residents vote at slightly higher rates than the state or our region, and 91% (versus 74% in the state) feel their town is a good or excellent place to raise children.
Yet the Branford Community Report data also show areas of concern. For example, 24% of students enrolled in Branford Public Schools in 2013-14 (751 students) received free or reduced price meals based on their family's income.
Furthermore, Branford shows an increasing inequality among its neighborhoods. The report notes that in 1980, all of Branford's neighborhoods were middle income. By 2014, however, only 44% of residents live in middle-income neighborhoods. This is because coastal areas become relatively more affluent while family incomes elsewhere in Branford did not keep up.
Relating to demographic tends, while the overall population of Branford is expected to decrease, the number of adults age 65+ is projected to grow 41% from 2015 to 2025. Another interesting demographic point is that Branford's population is less racially diverse than the region, with 11% non-white residents, versus greater New Havens rate of 35%. The town's youth population, however, is more diverse, with 19% of children under age 18 presenting as racial/ethnic minorities.
And while Branford has lower poverty and low-income rates than the state or region, children and seniors are slightly more likely to live in low-income households than other age groups.
In terms of economic development, there were 12,791 jobs located within Branford in 2014, a decrease of 586 (4%) since 2002. The health care and social assistance industry has gained the most jobs in Branford while the manufacturing industry has lost the most, which is consistent with statewide and regional trends.
"While the findings were not unsurprising, it does some areas that suggest the need for additional attention," says Executive Director Liza Janssen Petra. "One area is the projected increase in the percentage of our town made up by seniors and the increasing disparity among our neighborhoods."
This report was produced by the Branford Foundation in partnership with the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, and is based on local, state and federal public data analyzed by DataHaven, a non-profit organization with a 25-year history of public service to greater New Haven and Connecticut.
The Branford Community Report can be found on our website www.branfordcommunityfoundation.org . The data were drawn from the Greater New Haven Community Index 2016.
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