Groton’s appearance on the list of “distressed municipalities” is the first time the community has been on the list in more than 10 years, according to the senior analyst who compiled the report.
The list ranks communities statewide based on nine areas, including per capita income, poverty, unemployment and education.
Groton ranked 22nd on the list of 25 most distressed areas in 2012, and was one of three communities in New London County mentioned.
Kolie Sun, senior research analyst for the Department of Economic and Community Development who compiled the report, said Groton has not been on the list since 2000.
“This past ten years, a lot of things have happened in terms of the economy, and it seems like based on these nine criteria, Groton has performed on the lower end of the economy,” she said.
'It's all relative'
The data measures towns against one another, so factors that may appear positive when looked at alone can be relatively poor values when compared to others.
For example, Groton reported 89.8 percent of adults age 25 or older have a high school degree or better. But by this measure, Groton ranked 122 out of 169 Connecticut municipalities.
“It's all relative. This distressed community list is comparing towns. So if you are doing better than the others you are moving up. If you don’t move, or you don’t do well, you move down,” Sun said.
“That’s why, when you look at 89.8, you think, ‘That’s a very good percentage.’ But when you compare to other towns, you are not that great.”
Population and jobs
Some measures showed similar trends although they are not directly linked; for example, the Department of Labor reported an unemployment rate of 9.3 percent in Groton 2011, ranking the community 140th out of 169 cities and towns.
Similarly, Groton showed a population gain of .5 percent from 2000 to 2010, or almost flat growth. Population trends are considered a measure of economic distress as people will move into an area for jobs and leave if they cannot find work, Sun said. Groton ranked 151 out of 169 towns by this measure.
By comparison, Norwich, which reported greater poverty and lower per capita income than Groton, nevertheless showed population growth of 12.1 percent during this period, ranking it 22 out of 169. The city showed similar employment growth, ranking 10th.
A look at how Groton fared in each of the nine areas is listed below:
- Per capita income, 2010: $31,110. Ranked 133 out of 169 municipalities.
- Percentage of poverty, 2010: 7.2 percent. Ranked 130 out of 169.
- Unemployment rate, 2011: 9.3 percent. Ranked 140 out of 169.
- Percentage of population change, 2000-2010: Growth of 0.5 percent. Ranked 151 out of 169.
- Percentage of employment change, 2001-2011. Decease of 0.9 percent. Ranked 142 out of 169.
- Pecentage change in per capita income, 2000 to 2010: Growth of 29.7 percent. Ranked 80 out of 169.
- Percentage of housing built in 1939 or earlier: 17.8 percent. Ranked 24 out of 56. (This value was cut by one third in the report).
- Percentage of people age 25 or older with a high school degree or more: 89.8 percent. Ranked 122 out of 169.
- Adjusted net grand list per captia (grand list divied by number of people living in the town, adjusted by income): $41,777. Ranked 107 out of 169.
The report showed vast disparities among communities in the state, particularly when viewing the adjusted grand list. For example, Hartford ranked last, with a value of $9,643.
At the top, New Canaan ranked second, with a per capita value of $581,561. Greenwich was first, with a per capita value of $638,614.