Sample Nursing Project on Virginia Beach Community Assessment

Virginia Beach Community Assessment

Health is a complex result of where people live, learn, and work as well as the lifestyle and behaviors that a given population has adopted. As such. assessment of the current health status of a given community is not only related to health data and its outcomes, but also to various social externalities. In my view, socio-economic factors, such as education, community safety, employment, and others, influence 40 percent of an individual’s health, 10 percent are influenced by the physical environment including water, air, and the built environment that involves recreational places, transportation, and others. Health care factors, such as health insurance coverage. Make 20 percent of an individual’s health. An individual’s lifestyle or behavior makes 30 percent of other factors that influence his or her health. These factors include alcohol and tobacco use, exercise, nutrition, and others. Various stakeholders were included in the community’s assessment and evaluation process to ensure that all public issues that were a major concern to the local residents were sufficiently addressed to develop the Virginia Beach Community Health Assessment. The purpose of this report is to address the needs of the Virginia Beach Community and provide relevant information to the Virginia Beach Department of Public Health of the major issues that residents encounter day-to-day.

County Health Rankings

Given the complexities of health and the many factors that impact the health of our community, the county health ranking model proves to be useful in comparing health between communities living in Virginia state. The model collects and evaluates relevant data to rank the communities that reside in the Virginia state related to their needs. The indicators that determine community ranking include but are not limited to factors such as education levels, birth and death rates, age of deaths, insured or uninsured, transportation, unemployment, and housing problems.

The county health ranking model not only addresses the major concerns of the Virginia Beach Community that need to be improved but it also highlights the initiatives that the Virginia Beach Department of Public Health can use to plan and strategize on how to address the important health needs of the community. Moreover, the model highlights a list of policies and strategies that the public health department can implement to address the issue of health problems within the county. In 2019, Virginia Beach was ranked 23 out of the 133 Virginia state communities according to the county rankings data. As mentioned earlier, the indicators in the 2019 county rankings included a wide variety of our community’s social health determinants (Hood, Gennuso, Swain & Catlin, 2016). Some of these determinants included demographics, education levels, birth and death rates, age of deaths, and uninsured.


According to the 2010 census population report, the Virginia Beach population is shown to be 437, 994 with the state’s population being 8,001,024. According to the 2015 and 2019 population estimates, the Virginia Beach population is estimated to be at 452,745 and 453,373 respectively, whereas the state’s population is estimated to be at 8,382,993 and 8, 554,008 respectively (Manning & Stewart, 2017). Virginia Beach’s population percentage change from 2010 to 2019 is at 3.51 percent and Virginia state population percentage change is at 6.91 percent. This change clearly shows Virginia Beach’s slow population growth rate compared to the state’s rate.

The county’s population by gender, however, is consistent with the state levels although the median age by gender is lower compared with the state’s gender median age. This perspective implies that Virginia Beach has the youngest population across Virginia state. Virginia Beach’s median age of the city’s residents is 36.2 years, and that is 2.3 years lower than Virginia state’s median age. Many of the county’s residents are between the ages of 25 to 34 years. This age group forms the largest part of the Virginia Beach population. The second-largest age group includes persons between 35 to 44 years (Egan, Li, Hutchison & Ferdinand, 2014). The lowest age group across the city is made up of persons aged 85 years and above. This age group accounts for only 1.59 percent of the Virginia Beach population. The city’s population is comprised of 50.8 percent female gender and 49.2 percent of male gender.

Virginia Beach city is still predominantly occupied by whites although the U.S. Bureau statistics show that the city is showing positive trends in increased diversity. Whites make 65.08 percent of the Virginia Beach population with African Americans making up the second-largest race by 19.85 percent. The remaining 10.57 percent is made up of other races, including Asian, American Indian, and other races.

Education Levels

Education has been a major focus in the Virginia Beach community, and statistics show that the city is performing better in education than other communities across the state. The community’s rate of high school graduation has surpassed the Health People Goal 2020 that estimated that at least 87 percent would have graduated from high school by 2020 across various counties within Virginia State. Education is an important social determinant in determining an individual’s health and life span. Thus, many Virginia Beach parents have invested in taking their children to school.

Live Birth Rates

The rates of Virginia Beach’s rate of live births have remained higher than the Virginia state rate of live births since 2003 till today. The rate of live births has been between 13 to 15 births per 1000 Virginia Beach residents. However, there was a slight drop in 2013 when the registered rate of live births dropped to 13.4 (Spielman, Folch, & Nagle, 2014). In 2014, the city’s rate of live births increased to 13.5 births per population of 1000 people. In that year, the city registered 6,088 live births.

Death Rates

In 2014, it is estimated that 3,032 Virginia Beach Residents died. In 2007, the mortality rate was at 715.5 per 100,000 Virginia Beach residents. In 2014, the death rate was 692.8 per 100,000 residents. According to the 2007 and 2014 estimates, it is clear that the mortality rate has declined in the community (Manning & Stewart, 2017). Since then, the mortality rate has declined until today because of improved health care services across the city.

Age of Deaths

Life expectancy is a measure of a community’s overall health. In 2014, the overall life expectancy at birth of the U.S. population was estimated to be 78.8 years. In Virginia, life expectancy was estimated to be 79.8 years in 2014 (Spielman, Folch & Nagle, 2014). However, the life expectancy age has varied based on gender and race. The life expectancy of the Virginia Beach Community was estimated to be at 68.2 years in 2010. However, according to 2019 estimates, the life expectancy age is at 85.7 years.

Uninsured Population

High rates of insurance coverage improve the overall health status of a given population. Access to quality care services improves a population’s quality of life as well as their work productivity and others. The Healthy People 2020 goal aimed at ensuring that 100 percent of the total population across Virginia Beach has health insurance coverage (Koh, Piotrowski, Kumanyika, & Fielding, 2011). However, 6 percent of the Virginia Beach population has remained uninsured, which is lower compared to 10 percent of uninsured persons across the Virginia state.

Methodology and Process

Virginia Beach Department of Public Health conducted a community-wide assessment to identify the needs, resources, challenges, and opportunities for the Virginia Beach community. Data gathered from diverse sources will inform the department of how to develop initiatives strategically. The initiatives should be able to address the particular needs of the community.

Major Data Sources

The Virginia Beach community needs assessment was completed using both qualitative and quantitative data. Sources used include census statistics and other publicly available data sets, community windshield surveys, and focus groups.

Community Windshields Survey

To help the Virginia Beach Department of Public Health to understand how members viewed the challenges within our community, a 12-question survey was distributed using public transportation or driving a vehicle around the community. The questions focused on identifying our community’s needs and barriers around 12 issues, such as the age of the homes in the community, transportation in the community, cleanliness in the community, healthcare facilities, and others.

Participants were asked what the expected age of the homes in the community would be. 60 percent of the respondents estimated the median age to be 36.2 years. Another 25 percent and 15 percent of the participants engaged in the survey estimated the median age to be 36.4 years and 37.1 years respectively (Egan, Li, Hutchison & Ferdinand, 2014). The department later did the analysis and found out that the expected median age of homes in the Virginia Beach community to be 36.5 years. Moreover, the survey participants were asked a question related to the location of parks and other recreational areas. Two-thirds of the participants responded that the parks and other recreational areas were located at a favorable distance from the residential areas while another one-third responded that the parks and other recreational areas were located near the residential areas, hence causing disturbances both day and night time. Besides, the participants were asked about the amount of space between homes and businesses. At least 70 percent responded that the space between homes and businesses was favorable while 30 percent responded that the distance is large enough and did not favor individuals living with disabilities. Additionally, one of the survey questions addressed the issue of neighborhood hangouts. 40 percent of the survey participants responded that diverse races hang out together most of the time while 60 percent responded that people could only hang out around the neighborhoods based on their race and gender.

The survey participants were asked a question about transportation in the community. Estimates show that 1.80 percent of the occupied housing units do not own a vehicle hence use public means of transport. 16.70 percent of the occupied housing units at least own one vehicle while the rest 81.50 percent own two cars and more (Koh, Piotrowski, Kumanyika & Fielding, 2011). Moreover, the participants were asked about the quality and safety of streets and sidewalks. In this regard, three-quarters responded that it is safer to walk on the streets as violent crimes have declined to at least 138.3 per 100,000 population and one-quarter believe the crime rate has increased by at least 2.6 percent (Spielman, Folch & Nagle, 2014). Besides, the survey questions addressed the issue of stores and other businesses. Most of the survey participants responded that residents of the community have better access to grocery stores and fast-food restaurants. It is estimated that grocery stores and fast-food restaurants make at least 58 percent of the available food stores in the community. The participants were also asked a question about people out in the county and most responded that at least 12 percent of the overall Virginia Beach population has migrated to other regions either within Virginia or to other states.

Cleanliness within the county is another issue that was addressed in the survey questions. Most participants responded that 90 percent of the city’s environment always remained clean due to the strategic initiatives that have been put in place by the relevant Virginia Beach authorities. Moreover, the use of billboards or other media displays was asked and 40 percent of the survey participants responded that the Virginia Beach authority used billboards for the right purpose; to promote the community’s recreational activities. 60 percent of the participants believed that Virginia Beach’s relevant authorities used billboards and other media displays for the wrong reasons rather than promoting the community’s businesses and stores. Besides, the issue of places of worship was addressed in the survey questions. In this regard, most of the survey participants responded that various worship places had been built to cater to the diverse races that reside within Virginia Beach. Survey participants were also asked about the issue of healthcare services. Many participants responded that the rate of primary care physicians and dentists per 100,000 Virginia Beach residents is low, and it is at 29.5 percent within the facilities, hence poor services were being offered to the residents.

Focus Groups

The focus groups play an important role in humanizing the many different data points in the assessment of our community. Through collaboration with the Virginia Beach Department of Public Health, various focus groups, such as Virginia Beach Housing Resource Center, Virginia Beach Emergency Medical Services, and Green Run Home Owners Group, were completed throughout the Virginia Beach community in 2019. The focus groups included 6 to 12 participants. The focus group participants generated the following priorities based on their experiences and focus group dialogues or discussions. They highlighted that there is a need to provide support services to children with disabilities and older individuals living within the community (Egan, Li, Hutchison, & Ferdinand, 2014). They also focused on the need to promote services for those aged between 18-25 years by increasing recreational activities to enhance community engagement. They highlighted that the critical issue of transportation is getting clients to services and providing information to the residents about agencies that provided transportation services within the community. Another issue the focus groups emphasized is the issue of safety within the community. The groups urged the Virginia Beach relevant authorities to reduce the acts of violent crime to zero. On the general concern of the population, the groups urged the city’s relevant authorities to improve on healthcare services to improve the community’s health status.

Virginia Beach is a dynamic county amid cultural transformation. An influx of diverse new businesses and stores and recreational centers have changed the community’s landscape over the past decade. However, in this process lies systematic discrimination in a community dominated by Whites and concentrated intergenerational poverty due to high rates of unemployment. Therefore, the Virginia Beach Department of Public Health and other relevant agencies should establish a collective impact model that will include the community’s residents in various activities to create a change within the county.


Egan, B. M., Li, J., Hutchison, F. N., & Ferdinand, K. C. (2014). Hypertension in the United States, 1999 to 2012: Progress toward Healthy People 2020 goals. Circulation, 130(19), 1692-1699. Retrieved from

Hood, C. M., Gennuso, K. P., Swain, G. R., & Catlin, B. B. (2016). County health rankings: Relationships between determinant factors and health outcomes. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 50(2), 129-135. Retrieved from

Koh, H. K., Piotrowski, J. J., Kumanyika, S., & Fielding, J. E. (2011). Healthy people: A 2020 vision for the social determinants approach. Health Education & Behavior, 38(6), 551-557. Retrieved from

Manning, C. D., & Stewart, J. R. (2017). Benchmarking the Current Employment Statistics national estimates. Monthly Lab. Rev., 140, 1. Retrieved from

Spielman, S. E., Folch, D., & Nagle, N. (2014). Patterns and causes of uncertainty in the American Community Survey. Applied Geography, 46, 147-157. Retrieved from