2016 LIFE Study assesses Brown County’s quality of life

February 3, 2017 — The second LIFE Study on the quality of life in Brown County was released today at a breakfast with over 300 local community members and leaders in attendance.

The second LIFE (Leading Indicators For Excellence) Study Report is a successor to the 2011 Regional LIFE Study. The LIFE Study is a result of 1.5 years of research on 10 key indicators for economic, physical and emotional wellbeing in the Brown County. Funding partners Brown County United Way, Greater Green Bay Chamber, and Greater Green Bay Community Foundation guided the research based on issues unique to our community.

“I think it gives us hope because there’s some really great things in (the report),” said Laurie Radke, President of the Greater Green Bay Chamber. “The LIFE Study tells you we have high civic engagement, we’re very giving, we’re very trusting, people want to roll up their sleeves and participate and increase the quality of life,” Radke said. “So, I think it tells the whole story.”

The 2016 LIFE Study Report is based on research in Brown County and included input from nearly 900 community leaders, 500 community members, focus groups from diverse community sectors, expert panels and secondary data.

The findings indicate the following:

Community Engagement

  • The Study points to issues related to current levels of political discourse and a trend that the population thinks it is getting worse.
  • A high percent of citizens believe they don’t have an impact on the decisions that community leaders make

Heath Care

  • Leaders and community households believe we have excellent healthcare available in our community
  • Many indicators that measure the health of our community are worsening
  • Signs point to a need to adopt healthy lifestyles

Working Families and Childcare

  • The economy and indicators show good improvement over the last five years
  • Average household income is up
  • The number of households where both adults work are up, and the percentage of those households are higher in Brown County than the national average
  • Affordable childcare is identified as a major issue for working families


  • The nonwhite population has increased from 10% to almost 20% in the past 15 years
  • 30% of Community households report diversity is having a negative impact on the community
  • Efforts to improve the acceptance of diversity as a positive attribute are needed

“It doesn’t draw conclusions or have some sort of piece that says, ‘OK, here are the next 10 things we need to tackle,” said Amber Paluch, Vice President of Community Engagement for the Community Foundation and the LIFE Study project manager.

“It is purposefully meant to be used as a tool in whatever ways each organization or entity finds it useful and to serve as a catalyst for things in the community without kind of determining what those things are that need to be done,” she added. “We’ll continue to see this through over the course of the year.”

The purpose of the LIFE Study is to provide an assessment of Brown County’s quality of life so as to measure progress, identify issues, and engage residents in advancing the community.

The LIFE Study assesses 10 sectors of life in our community. It is unique in that it incorporates surveys that report on people’s perceptions with real data informed by expert analysis to paint a broad picture of the community.  LIFE offers us opportunities to focus on community issues and make a better connection between the allocation of resources and the initiatives to address the issues.

Sponsors and lead experts of the study are the Greater Green Bay Chamber, the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation & the Brown County United Way.  Research Partners are St. Norbert College Strategic Research Institute and the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and its Center for Public Affairs.

The Community Advisory Council is comprised of experts from all sectors of the community like health, education, government, business, nonprofit, and diversity and a range of demographics of our community.

Printed publications are available at from any of the study partners and can be accessed online at www.LifeStudy.info