2019 West Hollywood Community Study Provides Updated Demographic Data and Helps Determine Social Services Funding Priorities
The City of West Hollywood has released its 2019 West Hollywood Community Study. The Community Study is designed to provide the City of West Hollywood with up-to-date information about its demographics and aid in the determination of funding priorities for its social services programs. The City approved the summary of findings and recommendations of the 2019 Community Study earlier this year.
“The City of West Hollywood’s social services programs are remarkable. Each year, the City dedicates millions of dollars in grants to fund nonprofit organizations that provide direct services to West Hollywood community members,” said West Hollywood Mayor John D’Amico. “The updated Community Study helps ensure we’re responding to priorities and providing an appropriate level of services across an array of communities including seniors; people with HIV and AIDS; members of the LGBTQ community; families with children; people with disabilities, and more.”
The 2019 Community Study utilized an unprecedented level of community engagement to develop its findings. This included a dual-mode statistically valid resident survey that leveraged telephone (cellular and landline) surveys as well as web-based surveys among an address-based sample of current West Hollywood residents. The survey was offered in English, Russian, and Spanish on the telephone and was in English online. A total of 738 community members completed the survey.
In addition to the survey and a Community Study Kick-Off Meeting, there were multiple opportunities for community members to provide feedback. This included 14 pop-up workshops at various locations throughout West Hollywood; 10 focus groups; 41 stakeholder interviews, as well as a community-wide convenience sample survey that was completed by 353 West Hollywood residents. The concluding community engagement activity was a ‘Gallery Walk’ that presented a summary of findings to the attendees and provided an opportunity for collecting final input.
Survey results, which are statistically valid, note that 85 percent of respondents rated their quality of life as excellent or good. These respondents also tend to be satisfied with various aspects of life in the City of West Hollywood and indicate that social services are of high importance.
Survey respondents identified senior services; services for the LGBTQ community; for children, youth and families; and for community members with disabilities as the most important. Transportation services, poverty reduction services (e.g., job training), and legal services were also cited as being very important. In addition, Community Study participants identified affordable housing, health care, food insecurity, mental health, substance use, homelessness, HIV/AIDS, and sexually transmitted infections as being important issues for the City to address through Social Services funding.
Utilizing data from the 2016 five-year American Community Survey (ACS) and comparisons to previous Census figures, selected highlights of the demographic findings published in the Community Study include the following:
- Population (35,661), households (22,232) and average household size (1.6) have remained nearly level in West Hollywood since 2000;
- Men are 58 percent of the population, a rate that has increased slightly since 2010;
- Households of families with children have slowly decreased, but the population of children ages 5-9 has increased;
- There are 1,184 civilian veterans and no one on active duty;
- Since 2010, the City has experienced a slight increase (2%) in renter-occupied housing units (78% in 2010 versus 80% in 2016);
- West Hollywood residents continue to have achieved a higher level of education than Los Angeles County as a whole;
- Unemployment has decreased slightly but has remained consistent since 1980;
- The percentage of children living with families with incomes below the poverty level has decreased from 17% in 2010 to 7% in 2016;
- The median household income has increased by $9,000 since 2010 ($52,009 in 2010 versus $61,127 in 2016). West Hollywood’s median household income is about $3,000 higher than the County’s ($57,952);
- The percentage of community members in West Hollywood who identify as non-Hispanic White has decreased slightly since 2010, (from 78% to 74%) while the percentage of those who identify as Black, Latino, and “Other” has increased slightly. Compared to Los Angeles County, the City continues to be much less racially diverse;
- The population of immigrants from countries of the former Soviet Union continues to decrease, from 11% in 2010 to 8% in 2016;
- The U.S. Census currently does not have an option for respondents to identify sexual orientation. However, the City’s Community Survey does ask these questions, and the findings from the 2018 survey showed that 43% of West Hollywood residents identified as part of the LGBTQ community: 33% identifying as gay male; 4% identifying as lesbian; 3% identifying as bisexual; and 3% identifying as sexually fluid. Approximately 52% identified as heterosexual.
In addition, health information presented in the Community Study utilized data from the U.S. Census, California, and Los Angeles County health conditions data as well as 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 than LA County residents;
- The rate of residents living with HIV is 14 times higher in the City of West Hollywood compared to LA County overall (6,922.7 per 100,000 residents in West Hollywood compared to 491.7 per 100,000 residents for the County overall);
- Rates of diabetes mortality, stroke mortality, and coronary heart disease mortality were well below Los Angeles County averages;
- West Hollywood residents are smoking less (19.6% in 2010 versus 11% in 2015);
- West Hollywood continues to have higher motor vehicle injuries and deaths involving alcohol than the LA County, even though they have gone down since 2012.
The City of West Hollywood has a deep commitment to providing social services, health education, and information to community members in-need and to improve quality of life. The City’s Social Services Division budgets more than $5 million annually to support programs that impact thousands of people in West Hollywood, including programs for alcohol and drug use recovery; programs that serve Russian-speaking and other immigrants; services for people who are homeless; food programs; and health care services for people who are uninsured or under-insured. Services are provided through contracts with local nonprofit organizations.
For additional information about the City of West Hollywood’s Social Services Division, please visit www.weho.org/wehocares. For more information about the Community Study, please visit www.weho.org/communitystudy.For more information about the City of West Hollywood’s Social Services Division please call (323) 848-6510. For people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, please call TTY (323) 848-6496. For up-to-date news and events, follow the City of West Hollywood on social media @WeHoCity and sign up for news updates at www.weho.org/email.