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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Life in Hampton Roads Survey: Health and Education

This report examines regional and sub-regional measures of health and education perceptions from the 2017 Life In Hampton Roads survey (LIHR 2017) conducted by the Old Dominion University Social Science Research Center. Data from prior years is also provided when available to show comparisons in responses over time. Responses were weighted by city population, race, age, gender, and phone usage (cell versus land-line) to be representative of the Hampton Roads region. For additional information on survey methodology, and analyses of other issues, please see the SSRC website at www.odu.edu/ssrc.

The health and education of Hampton Roads residents are vital to ensuring that the community thrives. The 2017 Life in Hampton Roads survey asked 908 residents of the Hampton Roads area about their general health, certain health conditions, their child's health and opinions about local public school systems.

Medical and Health Care

The majority of respondents rated medical and health care good in Hampton Roads (43.4 percent). While 20.1 percent of respondents believed medical and health care to be excellent, a portion (25.3 percent) of the residents did report that the medical and health care was only fair. A smaller percentage reported being less satisfied than other respondents with 8.4 percent of residents rating medical and health care as poor.

General Health

Less than half (28.9 percent) of Hampton Roads residents rated their own general health as excellent, the lowest it has been since 2013. The majority of the respondents reported themselves to be in good health (53.7 percent). Almost 15 percent (14.3 percent) of survey respondents said they are in fair health. There was a slight increase in respondents reporting that they have poor general health. The 2017 survey indicated 3.2 percent of people were in poor health, while the 2016 survey reported 2.5 percent for poor general health.

Among the region's cities, Virginia Beach (85.8 percent) and Hampton (84.7 percent) residents had the highest ratings of overall health. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Norfolk (79.3 percent) and Portsmouth (77.3percent) had lower percentages of residents who rated their overall health excellent or good when compared to their counterparts.

Health Care Visits

Respondents were asked if they visited a doctor, nurse or other health care professional in the last year, excluding visits for other family members. About one-third (33.5 percent) of survey respondents indicated they visited a doctor more than four times in the past year. Slightly more than 10 percent (10.6 percent) of respondents stated they visited a doctor, nurse or other care professional four times within the last year. Meanwhile, 32.5 percent reported they visited some form of health professional two (18.7 percent) or three (13.8percent) times. Some respondents revealed that they only went to visit a doctor, nurse or health professional, once (14.5 percent) or not at all (8.5 percent) within the last year.

Health Conditions

We asked survey respondents about conditions they might have been diagnosed with within the past 5 years. The conditions listed included asthma, arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure/hypertension and cancer. Over 50 percent (52 percent) of Life in Hampton Roads respondents said they have not been diagnosed with any of the listed conditions within the last five years. High blood pressure/hypertension was the most common condition mentioned by survey respondents (27 percent). The next most common condition was arthritis with 16 percent. Only 5.6 percent of the surveyed residents reported being diagnosed with cancer within the last five years.

Child's Health Conditions

The 2017 Life in Hampton Roads survey asked respondents, "Has a doctor or health professional in the past five years told you that your oldest school-aged child has any of the following health conditions?" The conditions listed included autism spectrum disorder or autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, visually impaired, intellectual disability, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, congenital heart disease and psoriasis. Over three-fourths (77 percent) of our respondents stated that their child has not been diagnosed with any of these conditions within the past five years. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder was mentioned most often among the conditions previously listed (14.1 percent). The second leading response reported for Hampton Roads children was autism (7.4 percent). Very few respondents indicated that their oldest child was diagnosed with being visually impaired, or having intellectual disability, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, congenital heart disease, or psoriasis (3.9 percent, 1.6 percent, 0.4 percent, 0.4 percent, 0.4 percent, 0.8 percent, respectfully).

TV & Computer Games

In the 2017 Life in Hampton Roads study, respondents were asked, "Over the past 30 days, how many hours per week did you sit and watch TV or videos or play computer/video games outside of school or work?" While some respondents indicated that they do not watch television or play computer/video games (4.2 percent), some (18.3 percent) respondent's stated that they watch television or play computer/video games more than five hours a week. Some (7.3 percent) reported partaking in these activities less than one hour a week. Only 11.5 percent of residents stated that they only watch television or play games for one hour a week. The majority (49 percent) reported watching television or playing video games more than one to two hours (17 percent), more than two to three hours (18.4 percent), or more than three to four hours (13.6 percent). There were few (9 percent) respondents who indicated that they watched television or played video/computer games for more than 4 to 5 hours per week.

Respondents were also asked, "Over the past 30 days, how many hours per day did your oldest school-aged child sit down and watch TV or videos or play computer/video game outside of school?" While some respondents indicated that their oldest child does not watch television or play computer/video games (4.1 percent), some (15.9 percent) respondents stated that their child watches television or plays computer/video games more for more than five hours a week. Less that 7 percent (6.3 percent) reported their child partaking in these activities less than one hour a week. About 7 percent (7.4 percent) of residents stated that their child only watches television or play games for one hour a week. The majority (60 percent) reported that their child watches television or plays video games for more than 1 to 2 hours (24.1 percent), more than 2 to 3 hours (24.0 percent), or more than three to four hours (11.9 percent). There were few (4.9 percent) respondents that indicated that their child watched television or played video/computer games for more than four to five hours per week.

Public School System

We wanted to inquire if parents were choosing public school, private school or home schooling for their children. Most (71.7 percent) of our respondents did not have children, or had children that were over 18 years old and not in school. About one-quarter of respondents indicated that they have children enrolled in public school (24.8 percent). Only 3.7 percent of respondents indicated that they have children who are enrolled in private school. Home school was the least frequent type of school with a mere 1.3 percent.

For respondents who previously told us they did not have school aged children, we asked, "Even though you may not have children attending public schools, how would you rate the quality of your local public school system?" While the majority (54.9 percent) of these respondents rated the public school system as excellent (14.3 percent) or good (40.6 percent), others rated the school system as fair (27.7 percent) or poor (8.9 percent).

Those respondents who do have school-aged children rated the public schools more favorably than those without children in local schools. While the majority (70 percent) of respondents with school age children rated the public school system as excellent (28 percent) or good (42.0 percent), others rated the school system as fair (20.5 percent) or poor (9.1 percent).

When looking at the ratings of local public school systems by city, we see some differences in perceptions based on where respondents live. Respondents in Chesapeake (72.9 percent) and Virginia Beach (78.9 percent) were more likely to rate their public schools as excellent or good compared to other localities. Between 44 percent and 48 percent of respondents in Suffolk, Newport News, Hampton and Newport News rated the local public schools as excellent or good. Portsmouth had the lowest percentage of respondents rating the schools highly with only 31.3 percent indicating excellent or good.

When asked to rate the quality of schools within their children's school zone, most parents responded with excellent (32.9 percent) or good (33.3 percent). Some respondents felt that the quality of the schools within their child's school zone was only fair (18.3 percent) or poor (13 percent).

We inquired about the quality of classroom instruction from the perception of parents. A majority of our respondents (79.9percent) stated they believed the quality of instruction was excellent (38.5 percent) or good (41.4 percent). There were few respondents who believed the quality of instruction provided by their child's teacher was only fair (11.8 percent) or poor (6.7 percent)

Hampton Roads appears to be a relatively healthy community with over 80 percent of respondents rating their own health as excellent or good, with the highest of ratings among respondents living in Virginia Beach. Despite the general good health reported by Hampton Roads respondents, high blood pressure seemed to be the most reported condition amongst residents. Over three quarters of Hampton Roads children also tend to be generally healthy (in regards to a list of conditions we inquired about) according to parental reports. Across the board, whether respondents had children or not, schools were mainly rated excellent or good. While a majority of respondents (71.7 percent) did not have school age children, of those who did, the ratings of their children's school were mainly good or excellent (79.9 percent). Over half of respondents reported that they watched TV, videos or played computer/video games outside of school or work for more than two hours per week over the past 30 days (59.3 percent).

All Life in Hampton Roads data summaries will be placed on the Social Science Research Center website as they are released (http://www.odu.edu/al/centers/ssrc). Follow-up questions about the 2017 Life in Hampton Roads survey should be addressed to:

Randy Gainey, PhD

Faculty Director

The Social Science Research Center

Professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice

Old Dominion University

757-683-4794 (office)

rgainey@odu.edu

Or

Tancy Vandecar-Burdin, PhD

Associate Director

The Social Science Research Center

Old Dominion University

757-683-3802 (office)

tvandeca@odu.edu

Previous 2017 Life in Hampton Roads Survey sections:

Quality of Life

Crime and Police

Transportation