WeHo community study approved by council

April 8, 2013

Citizens of WeHo love life in the city, its walkability, centrality, sense of safety, relative quiet, easily to access amenities and tidiness, according to a recently completed community study.

 The West Hollywood City Council has just approved the preliminary summary results of the 2013 West Hollywood Community Study, designed to help the City update its demographics and aid in the determination of funding priorities for social services.

This year’s Community Study utilized unprecedented community engagement to develop its findings – from a randomly-mailed, statistically-valid resident survey with a record number of returns to a community workshop that drew 81 people for an interactive evening focused on social service priorities.

In addition to the survey and the community workshop, there were multiple opportunities for participants to provide feedback.

This included 11 pop-up workshops at various locations throughout West Hollywood; 13 focus groups, 31 individual interviews, as well as a community-wide survey. All surveys and pop-up workshop materials were available in English, Russian and Spanish.

From the statistically valid portion of the survey, 90 percent of respondents rated their quality of life as excellent or good, citing pedestrian orientation, central location, safe and quiet, near amenities and clean and well-kept as some of the things they like best about living in West Hollywood.

Survey respondents also identified law enforcement/crime prevention; senior services and disabled services; counseling and emotional support; HIV prevention and education and medical services as the services most important to their household.

Other study participants also identified affordable housing; health care; services and programs for families with children; services to maintain independent living; services for people who are homeless and substance abuse services as important priorities for the City.

Utilizing data from the 2010 U.S. Census and comparisons to previous Census figures, some of the demographic findings included the following:

  • Population (34,399), households (22,511) and average household size (1.53) have decreased in West Hollywood since 2000.
  • Men are 56 per cent of the population, a rate that has increased slightly since 2000.
  • Households of families with children has slowly decreased; but the population of children under 5 years old has increased.
  • There are 955 civilian veterans and nine people in active duty.
  • The percent of renters versus homeowners has remained constant.
  • The City of West Hollywood is increasingly more educated than Los Angeles County as a whole.
  • Unemployment is slightly higher than previous decades.
  • Population below the poverty line has slowly increased and families with children with incomes below the poverty level has increased.
  • Median household income is higher in Los Angeles County than in West Hollywood.
  • The proportion of Hispanic/Latino and Asian or Pacific Islander population has increased.
  • The population of immigrants from countries of the former Soviet Union has decreased, as has the percentage of residents who speak other Indo-European languages (including Russian).

 

ChadMichael Morrisette and Mito Aviles in their home studio.

The U.S. Census currently does not have an option for respondent to identify sexual orientation. However, the City’s Community Survey does ask these questions, and the findings from the 2013 survey showed that the number of respondents who identify as heterosexual has decreased, while those who identify as gay males increased.

In addition, health information was presented, utilizing data from the U.S. Census, California and Los Angeles County health conditions data and information from the City’s Social Services Division. The health conditions data showed the following:

  • West Hollywood residents live longer and have lower rates of adult obesity and chronic diseases.
  • The rate of HIV infection is the second highest in the Los Angeles County, but the rate of AIDS diagnosis has declined steadily for the last decade.
  • Rates of diabetes mortality, stroke mortality and coronary heart disease mortality were well below Los Angeles County averages.
  • The prevalence of cigarette smoking is 5.3 percent higher than the Los Angeles County average.
  • Alcohol-related death rates and alcohol-related motor vehicle collisions well exceeded the Los Angeles County average.

The Community Study final report will be available after May 8th at www.weho.org/communitystudy. Hard copies can be made available by request to the Social Services Division by e-mailing communitystudy@weho.org or by calling (323) 848-6510. Russian-speaking residents may call (323) 848-6326. For the deaf and hard of hearing, please call (323) 848-6496.