Economic opportunity refers to the outlook for upward social mobility, and impacts opportunities for health. Employment is a key factor in economic opportunity and is often the main source of income that provides a family with food, childcare, educational opportunity, and medical care.
Employment opportunity can improve stability and employment benefits that result in better health. Unemployed are 54% more likely to have fair or poor health and is linked to loss of health insurance, increased blood pressure, and depression. These health outcomes resulting from poor economic opportunity reveal that increasing economic opportunities in communities is critical to their overall health.
What It Means
Quality of life differs among communities with varying degrees of economic opportunity. Communities with higher economic opportunity have better health outcomes, including fewer days of poor physical and mental health. On the other hand, those communities with less economic opportunity tend to have poor health outcomes and tend to die younger. Addressing economic opportunity as a health issue can inform conversations regarding health equity and health access. All Arizonans should have the economic opportunity required to enable healthy communities, not just the select few.
Why It Matters
Economic opportunity is a barrier against economic shocks to a community or system. The more economic opportunity available in communities, the more likely that residents can successfully respond to negative shocks to the community. A diverse range of economic opportunities ensures access to income and health related resources that can be obtained with that income. Access to these resources, through various forms of economic opportunity, ensures that all members of a community can obtain what is needed to live a healthy life.
Live Well Arizona is a continually evolving website and will grow with your input. Help us identify, lift up, and celebrate efforts that help Arizonans be healthier and live well.
Look here for statistics, analysis strategies, resources and best practices from across the country.
Advocacy and Public Policy
Economic Opportunity Institute
Policy link - Equitable Economy
The Annie E. Casey Foundation – Work, Education and Income
Local Community and Leadership
Balle – Build Your Local Economy
Institute for New Economic Thinking
International Economic Development Council
National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations
National Community Reinvestment Coalition
Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts
Arizona Resources: Local Spotlight
Looking to start, or engage in a conversation about Economic Opportunity and how you can contribute? Here are connectors, conveners, advocates and actors to bring to the table.
Advocacy and Public Policy
Arizona Association for Economic Development
Arizona Community Action Association
Arizona Department of Economic Security
Local Community and Economic Development
Arizona Rural Development Council
LISC Phoenix – Economic Development
Local First Arizona
Arizona Women’s Education and Employment Inc.
Central Arizona Sustainable Economy – Immigration and Worker Center
Chicanos Por La Causa – Economic Development
Goodwill – Employment Services
St. Joseph the Worker
Connect with Economic Opportunity efforts-in-progress, and the partners who are helping to make them happen:
A statewide living wage initiative that recruits, certifies, recognizes, and rewards employers who pay a living wage. The more businesses that are Living Wage Certified means less communities that are living in poverty.
Fuerza Local Accelerator:
A Spanish language based course that helps small, under-served business owners to become more competitive and to establish credit.
A custom screen printing and embroidery business located in central Phoenix. They support men and women from the community who are under resourced, by providing employment, teaching job skills and life skills, and helping them build stable families and social supports.
Get a bird’s eye view of efforts from around the country that can be an inspiration and reference point for Arizona-based work:
A program designed to develop commercial corridors in low income communities that increase civic participation, strengthen a sense of community, and stimulate economic growth.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation:
The Health Means Business campaign is a two-year commitment by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, in an unprecedented partnership with local and regional chambers, to foster business engagement in the wellness of our nation’s communities.
Northeast Investment Cooperative:
Residents in Minnesota buy and rehab under developed property in order to improve the local economy. Recruiting local businesses to occupy these properties creates economic opportunity for the community.