Exploring Socio-Economic Determinants of Health in Schenectady
Schenectady is a heavily populated city with 6,135 people per square mile and a population of roughly 65,000 residents. This is an important factor when considering the health of the community, especially during the current pandemic. The sheer density of people can make it difficult for residents to social distance and avoid contact with other infected residents. The median household income in Schenectady is $44,000 with 18.4% of people in poverty. Not all residents have the ability to buy fresh, healthy food that will allow them to boost their immunity and fight off illness, generally speaking. It often makes more sense financially for them to buy less expensive fast-food, which does not provide the nutrients needed and often further increases health conditions. The majority of Schenectady residents work hourly jobs which do not include health benefits as part of the package, making access to healthcare limited. Even if residents have insurance, many still have to worry about a co-pay for the visit. 61.4% of residents work civilian labor jobs, restricting their ability to work remotely and practice social distancing. Many residents also utilize communal transportation to get to and from work, or for other day to day needs, further increasing their exposure. 11.2% of residents under the age of 65 have a disability. Additionally, there is limited access to green space around the city; green space and grounding in nature play very important roles in lowering stress levels of residents and therefore help in potentially fighting off illness . The city has put resources in place for residents, such as the Schenectady County Public Health Services website: here they provide updates on public health concerns, mental health resources, information on how to prevent overdoses, etc. In regards to the pandemic, the city offers free testing Monday’s and Thursdays and the New York State Department of Health provides a hotline for concerns regarding the Covid-19 virus. The Schenectady Senior Community Center has had to close due to the pandemic, but they provide a telephone number so that they can be reached when needed. Hospice homes for end of life care are still accepting new residents.