Category: Community

Resource Category Topic Type
A Community Schools Approach to Accessing Services and Improving Neighborhood Outcomes in Manchester, New Hampshire
In the several years since the Great Recession, New Hampshire, like the nation, has witnessed and experienced growing economic disadvantage. The state’s poverty level stands at 8.4 percent, and child poverty increased from about 8 percent in 2000 to nearly 10 percent in 2012.1 Some areas of the state have been hit harder than others. In the state’s largest city of Manchester, for instance, the poverty rate rose from 10 percent in 2000 to 14 percent in 2012, and within Manchester some neighborhoods have become poorer than others (Figures 1 and 2).2 Increases in poverty and educational disadvantage are steepest among minorities and immigrants, the city’s fastest-growing demographic groups.3 The vulnerabilities to which people are exposed as a result of poverty can have devastating consequences. Children living in poverty are less likely to graduate from high school, and they have worse educational outcomes overall; one study found that living in a high-poverty neighborhood is equivalent to missing a year of school.4 Poverty-afflicted children are also more likely to live in poverty as adults.5 In an era when a state’s economic health depends more than ever on the physical health and educational capital of its residents, stakeholders across New Hampshire have a vested interest in alleviating the growing poverty in Manchester and the wide disparities between Manchester and the rest of the state. To engage in this challenge, the Manchester Neighborhood Health Improvement Strategy Leadership Team launched the Manchester Community Schools Project (MCSP)—a partnership between the Manchester Health Department, city elementary schools, philanthropists, neighborhood residents, and several nonprofit agencies—to improve and enhance educational achievement, economic well-being, access to health care services, healthy behaviors, social connectedness, safety, and living environments.
New Hampshire, Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Community, Education, New Hampshire Publication
Carsey Perspectives: Water Concerns Unite Citizen Activists
This study focuses on an instance of sustained local activism in which citizens in three New Hampshire communities mobilized to protect community groundwater against threats from commercial use. Beginning in 2001, despite strong citizen opposition, state-issued permits allowed a private company, USA Springs, to commence work on a large water-bottling operation that would have pumped over 400,000 gallons daily from Nottingham and Barrington. Activists fought back through state agencies and the courts, engaging in a lengthy campaign that involved petitioning, lobbying, community meetings, rallies, public protests, and a State Supreme Court case. Meanwhile, and absent an immediate threat to their own town’s water, Barnstead residents worked proactively with a public interest law firm based in Pennsylvania to develop the nation’s first local ordinance prohibiting the taking of community water by corporations. Ultimately, Nottingham and Barrington followed suit, crafting their own ordinances and joining a growing community rights movement that has taken hold in at least twelve states. After a fight that spanned more than a decade, the Nottingham and Barrington activists ultimately prevailed. The company went bankrupt, and water bottling never commenced. Although many factors—including the dedication and persistence of the activists themselves—contributed to the victory, the case suggests that local ordinances can be an effective tool for mobilizing and educating residents, encouraging deliberative dialogue around environmental and resource issues, and deterring unwanted commercial activity.
Community, Environment, and Climate Change, New Hampshire Community, New Hampshire, Politics and Elections, Rivers/Watersheds Publication
Challenge and Hope in the North Country
Hit hard by the national decline in natural-resource and manufacturing jobs, North Country communities in northern New Hampshire and bordering areas of Maine and Vermont (Figure 1) continue to face challenges in restructuring their economies.1 A 2008 study classified Coös County, New Hampshire, and Oxford County, Maine, as “amenity/decline” regions, a common pattern in rural America where historically resource-dependent places experience decline in their traditional industries, even while natural amenities present new opportunities for growth in areas such as tourism or amenity-based in-migration. Complicating this transition, there is often out-migration of young adults seeking jobs and financial stability elsewhere, as new industries in rural areas tend toward seasonal employment or require different kinds of skills.2 In this brief, we report on a 2017 survey that asked North Country residents about their perceptions, hopes, and concerns regarding this region. Many of the same questions had been asked on earlier surveys in 2007 and 2010, providing a unique comparative perspective on what has changed or stayed much the same.
Community, Environment, and Climate Change, New Hampshire Community, Economic Development, Migration, New Hampshire, Public Opinion, Rural, Unemployment Publication
Community Strength and Economic Challenge: Civic Attitudes and Community Involvement in Rural America
Residents in rural areas that are rich in amenities report a positive outlook about their community strength and civic engagement, with nine out of ten saying they would work together to solve a community problem. However, residents in chronically poor rural communities are less likely to trust, get along with, and help their neighbors. Michele Dillon, professor of sociology at UNH and faculty advisor at the Carsey Institute, and Justin R. Young, a doctoral student in sociology, used data from the Community and Environment in Rural America (CERA) survey to highlight the variation in patterns of civic involvement across rural America.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Civic Attitudes, Community, Rural Publication
Continuity and Change in Coos County Results from the 2010 North Country CERA Survey
This brief from Chris Colocousis and Justin Young uses the most recent North Country CERA survey to focus on change and continuity in Coos County between 2007 and 2010, and then makes comparisons of the present conditions across the three study counties. The authors examine such topics as community problems, environmental and economic concerns, and community cohesion and confidence in the local government. They report that Coos County residents remain highly concerned about the lack of economic opportunities in the region, and their concern about population decline has increased in recent years. Coos residents see the economic future of their communities primarily tied to both recreation and traditional forest-based industries, though they have become somewhat more polarized with respect to levels of support for economic development versus environmental protection. The authors conclude that challenges stemming from the economic restructuring of the past decade have been deepened by the most recent recession, and issues of limited economic opportunities, financial hardship, and population decline have become more pronounced. As the North Country moves into the future, one of its primary challenges will be working out a balance between what can sometimes be conflicting demands on the region’s substantial natural resources.
New Hampshire Community, Economic Development, Environment, New Hampshire, Public Opinion Publication
Coös Teens’ View of Family Economic Stress Is Tied to Quality of Relationships at Home
Family economic hardship during adolescence affects family relationships and the social, emotional, and behavioral development of a substantial number of American youth.
New Hampshire Community, Coös Youth Study, Family, New Hampshire, Wages, Young Adults Publication
Coös Youth with Mentors More Likely to Perceive Future Success
This fact sheet explores whether Coös youths’ mentor experiences and their academic attitudes and well-being are linked. Authors Kent Scovill and Corinna Jenkins Tucker analyze data from the Coös Youth Study collected in 2008, focusing on seventh and eleventh grade students from all public schools in Coös County, New Hampshire.
New Hampshire Community, Coös Youth Study, New Hampshire, Young Adults Publication
Enduring Ties to Community and Nature: Charting an Alternative Future for Southeast Alaska
Like much of rural America, Southeast Alaska is confronting the social implications of both population declines and the downturn in natural resource-based industries. Although many residents have chosen to leave Alaska in the last decade, the majority have stayed. Strong social cohesion and intimate ties to the natural amenities of the region are what sustain rural Alaskans. It is these connections to people and place that may ultimately enable residents to create renewed and more resilient Alaskan communities. Examining the challenges faced by Southeast Alaska, this brief discusses ways to encourage community groups and governmental agencies to work collaboratively to craft a robust economic future for the region.
Community, Environment, and Climate Change, Demography Community, Demography, Environment Publication
Forest Views: Northeast Oregon Survey Looks at Community and Environment
This brief reports on a survey conducted in fall 2011 as one component of the ongoing Communities and Forests in Oregon (CAFOR) project. The CAFOR project focuses on the people and landscapes of three counties in northeast Oregon (Baker, Union, and Wallowa), where landscapes and communities are changing in interconnected ways.
Community, Environment, and Climate Change Community, Environment, Forests Publication
Forging the Future: Community Leadership and Economic Change in Coös County, New Hampshire
Author Michele Dillon conducted a case study of community change in Coös County, New Hampshire, for two-and-a-half years (June 2009-December 2011) to investigate how local community leaders in Coös assess the initiatives, challenges, opportunities, and progress in the North Country during this time of economic transition.
New Hampshire Civic Engagement, Community, Economic Development, Leadership, New Hampshire Publication
How Yoopers See the Future of their Communities: Why Residents Leave or Stay in Michigan's Upper Peninsula
According to a Community and Environment in Rural America survey, Michigan's Upper Peninsula residents, often called "Yoopers," said that ties to community and the area's natural beauty were significant factors for those who planned on staying in this rural area, which comprises about a third of Michigan's land mass but only 4 percent of its population. Those planning on leaving cited employment opportunities and energy costs as the most important factors in their decision.
Demography Community, Demography, Environment, Public Opinion, Rural Publication
Immigration to Manchester, New Hampshire
This brief analyzes immigration and refugee resettlement in Manchester and the effects on the city’s demographic composition, as well as the implications for its future. Authors Sally Ward, Justin Young, and Curt Grimm report that Manchester, New Hampshire, like the nation, is experiencing a new wave of immigration.
Demography, New Hampshire Community, Demography, Immigration, New Hampshire Publication
It Takes a Community: Civic Life and Community Involvement Among Coös County Youth
This brief explores the extent to which Coös County youth are involved in a variety of civic-related activities, with particular attention to the demographic and attitudinal factors associated with such participation. Author Justin Young reports that approximately 75 percent of Coös County youth report involvement in at least one type of civic-related activity.
New Hampshire Civic Engagement, Community, Coös Youth Study, New Hampshire, Young Adults Publication
Jobs, Natural Resources, and Community Resilience: A Survey of Southeast Alaskans about Social and Environmental Change
As part of the Community and Environment in Rural America (CERA) project, researchers at the Carsey Institute surveyed 1,541 residents of the ten boroughs and unincorporated census areas in Southeast Alaska to better understand social and environmental change in the region and their implications for Alaskan community and families. The authors of this brief report that social problems in the extremely isolated region of Southeast Alaska such as crime and drug use are closely related to economic distress, particularly in small outlying communities. They suggest that economic development interventions should be paired with social assistance to address these interrelated problems. Natural resource industries are highly valued, and supporting sustainable expansion of these industries will be critical in the future. Residents highly value the natural and cultural character of the region. Southeast Alaska’s natural assets and strong social capital suggest that residents can collaborate to address social and environmental concerns. Trust and confidence in government is low. However, increasing local engagement may help bridge this divide and encourage public-private partnerships and more cooperative relationships. With its rising energy costs and limited access to high-quality foods, national programs that increase access to affordable energy and quality foods should focus on this region. Significant economic and social challenges can make life in Southeast Alaska a challenge, yet residents remain resilient and optimistic about the future of their communities.
Community, Environment, and Climate Change Community, Economic Development, Environment, Public Opinion Publication
Key Findings and Recommendations from the Coös Youth Study
In this brief, authors Michael Staunton and Eleanor Jaffee review the key findings and recommendations from research conducted in the first half of the Coös Youth Study, which began in 2008 and is planned to continue through 2018.
New Hampshire Community, Coös Youth Study, Education, Health, New Hampshire, Young Adults Publication
Maximizing Returns to Colleges and Communities
Colleges and universities depend tremendously on their local communities in numerous ways, and through community investment, have a unique opportunity to support these communities in turn. This handbook provides an overview of community investment, including a step-by-step guide to implementing a community investment program that maximizes both financial and social returns.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Community, Economic Development, Education Publication
Measures and Methods: Four Tenets for Rural Economic Development in the New Economy
Rural communities working to find strategies for success in today's economy need to rethink the tools they are using. Brown-Graham is the executive director of the Institute for Emerging Issues and a policy fellow at the Carsey Institute. William Lambe is the associate director at the Community and Economic Development Program at the School of Government, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Community, Environment, and Climate Change Community, Community Development, Economic Development, Rural Publication
Navigating the Teen Years: Promise and Peril for Northern New Hampshire Youth
This report provides a snapshot of how youth are doing in Carroll, Coos, and Grafton counties and describes some of the difficulties they and their communities face as they negotiate the transition to adulthood. The study is based on data from several agencies that collect county- and community-level information about youth, as well as from interviews with individuals working with youth in each of the three counties.
New Hampshire Community, Coös Youth Study, Health, New Hampshire, Young Adults Publication
New Immigrant Settlements in Rural America: Problems, Prospects, and Policies
Regions of rural America are being reshaped by growing numbers of immigrants who are choosing small-town life over the bright lights of the big city. This study found that immigrant settlers may have a big impact on small, rural communities—sometimes straining resources but also offering promise for reinvigorating dying communities.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Community, Economic Development, Immigration, Rural Publication
No Place Like Home: Place and Community Identity Among North Country Youth
This brief explores the link between rural youths’ identification with their community, their self-esteem, and their future plans. The panel study of New Hampshire’s Coos County youth offers a snapshot into the dynamics of a population that is developing its identity in a region that is undergoing an identity transformation of its own. Place identity may be influential in how individuals think of themselves and their futures, particularly for youth in the process of forming an identity. The study reveals the importance of developing community programs and activities for youth that create social ties to form a positive identification with the place they live and consequently improve their self-esteem and the likelihood for staying or returning to their communities in later adulthood.
New Hampshire, Vulnerable Families Research Program Community, Coös Youth Study, New Hampshire, Rural, Young Adults Publication