LIFE in Our Community

In the 2011 LIFE Study, Brown County was characterized by a high level of civic engagement and a strong sense of community. Those trends have continued in 2016. Rates of participation in a variety of civic and community activities have remained quite high since the 2011 study, as Figure 1 illustrates. According to data from the 2016 community survey, 82% of people in Brown County reported donating money to a charitable service or volunteer organization other than a church and 71% of people helped at church, a school, or a charitable organization. It is also worth noting that the number of neighborhood associations has increased in the area. As of 2015, there were 42 active neighborhood associations in the City of Green Bay, which is an increase from 35 associations in 2011.

A number of important changes have occurred since the publication of the 2011 LIFE Study. One noteworthy change has been the overall population growth in Brown County and the growing racial and ethnic diversity of the population. A summary of demographic changes in Brown County since 2000 is shown in Figure 3 (data from U.S. Census Bureau). The size of the Hispanic population, for example, has grown considerably in Brown County over the past 15 years. Between 2000 and 2015, the size of the Hispanic population increased by about 146%. A number of other groups have seen large increases in their population size. Since 2000, for example, the size of the Asian population has increased by about 63%.

The 2016 community survey indicated that views about the impact of the area’s growing diversity are mixed, as shown in Figure 2. In 2016, 33% of community members said that the growing cultural diversity was having a positive impact, while 30% of people said that it was having a negative impact. Among leaders, about 60% said that the growing diversity in Brown County was having a positive impact. Thirteen percent of leaders in 2016 said that growing diversity was having a negative impact. Thus, there is a divergence between community members and leaders on the impact of growing cultural diversity in Brown County. Ratings for the leading indicators in this section are shown in Figure 4. Overall, voter participation rates and the number of neighborhood associations have seen improvements. Local electoral competition, as measured by the number of uncontested County Supervisor seats, has been declining in recent years.