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Suffern Community Assessment: Window Shield Survey

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The driver pulls the car out of the driveway and onto Suffern’s paved roads. On the drive into Suffern’s Center, there is a lot of grass and tall trees. The driver passes by Walgreens, the Suffern Library, two office buildings (one is the dentist’s office), and Good Samaritan Hospital which are all located on Route 59, a road that goes straight through Rockland County and connects many of its villages. As the car turns onto Route 59 and heads into a more residential area, there are houses of all sizes, some with many miles between them. The driver stops the car behind a bus and watches two white children get off and walk into a small white house. As the driver continues, she notices a man jogging down the road – seems like he’s headed to the park. As the car reaches the park it is noticeably emptier than usual. There were no kids there, just two people and a dog. The car heads straight on Memorial Drive passing the Suffern pool which opens in June of every year. It is closed and no one is there now. The driver continues down Memorial Drive until she hits Route 202 which intersects with Orange Avenue. On Orange Avenue, there is a bus stop where many take the bus to New York City. There are two Hispanic men waiting at the bus stop now. The car makes a left turn onto Lafayette Avenue, the main street in Suffern.

Lafayette Avenue is filled with restaurants and bars suggesting Suffern has a lively nightlife. There are also a whole bunch of little shops and thrift stores. The car stops at the traffic light near the Suffern Supermarket, which is where many residents do their grocery shopping and also where people can buy lottery tickets and bus tickets to NYC. On the Avenue, there are some people walking on the sidewalk which is fairly clean. There is a Spanish couple with two kids but other than those kids Lafayette was mainly adults. There are a number of white men and one elderly black woman walking out of the Suffern deli.

On the drive, the car passes a few places of worship (a church and two synagogues) which implies there are a number of different types of religious people in Suffern. The driver passes by Suffern High School and one elementary school The village consists of mostly houses, however, some streets have apartment complexes as well.

Community Description and impressions

After examining Suffern in the windshield survey, doing some community research and speaking to key community informants, the author has come to the conclusion that Suffern is an overall safe and healthy village. Residents feel comfortable walking in the streets late at night –the biggest fear for many residents is running into a coyote or a bear.

The community in Suffern seems to be mostly middle-aged people, however, the driver got the impression there is a large number of elderly people too. The crowd was mostly white with many Hispanics too. The people appeared to be in good health although some of them looked overweight. There did not appear to be many gyms and – the only noticeable one was very small perhaps an implication that there are not many people who go to the gym.

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One advantage to living in Suffern is the open space for children and to play and immerse themselves in nature. Many houses had large front and backyards. Kids can come home from school and play outside in the grass. The community also feels very safe and secure so children have more freedom. The open space is also good for animals, specifically dogs, because it gives them a lot of room to roam and play.

The main health concern would be related to immunizations, specifically the MMR vaccine. After speaking with key informant #2, it is evident that there are MMR low vaccination rates within the community and this leads to an increased risk of Measles, Mumps and Rubella.

Community Core and Supportive Data


Suffern was incorporated as a village into the town of Ramapo Rockland in 1796 by John Suffern, the first Rockland County Judge. Previously known as New Antrim before the American Revolution, Suffern was originally initiated by the Ramapough – a tribe of Munsee. It was a strategically important place during the war because of its close proximity to the Ramapo Pass – a great location for troops to camp out. On route to the siege of Yorktown which began the Revolutionary war, Comte de Rochambeau, a French General who eventually helped win the war, stopped with his troops in Suffern. The soldiers camped out across the street from John Suffern’s home where Rochambeau slept. Suffern’s home was also used by George Washington on a few occasions (“About the Village of Suffern, New York,” 2015). Since then Suffern has become a small yet progressive village and has proven to be a great place for young professionals and retirees to live. Suffern even has its own day – Suffern day – which involves all members of the community and ends with fireworks and music by local favorites!

Demographics and Ethnicity

In the year 2018, Suffern had a population of 10,984 people. 46% were male and 54% were female. The median female age was 42.8 and the median male age was 42.5 giving a total median age of 42.7. 20.3% of Suffern was under 20 years old, 13.9% were in their 20’s, 13.1% in their 30s, 13.8% in their 40s, 14.8% in their 50s, 10.2% in their 60s and 13.9% in their 70s or above. 77.6% of residents were white, 7.1% Asian and only 3.6% were African-American. The remaining 11.6% consisted of other races. 52% of people were married while the remaining 48% were single. Out of the single people, 32% never married, 10% divorced and 6% widowed. The average family size in Suffern was 3.2. 79% of Residents were citizens born in the US, 13% were citizens by neutralization and 8% were not American citizens. 79% of residents were born in the US and the remaining 21% of the population was born outside the United States. Of those born in foreign countries, 51% were born in the Americas, 21% in Europe, 27% in Asia and 2% in Africa. None were born in Australia. 76% of those born in the US were born in New York State (“Suffern NY Demographic data,” 2018). 73.1% of residents speak just English, 13% speak Spanish and the remaining 13.9% speak other languages (“Suffern NY Population,” 2019). Suffern is home to 441 male veterans. 169 fought in the Vietnam War, 57 fought in World War II, 46 fought in the Second Gulf War, 33 in the Korean War and 21 in the First Gulf War (“Suffern, New York Population 2019,” 2019).

Vital Statistics (*Please note that unless specified, all are based on Rockland County data and not on Suffern alone.)

The Suffern birth rate for women ages 15-50 was 4%, with the majority of births (73.1%) from women aged 25-34. 32% of births were from unwed mothers and 100% of those births were women aged 20-34 years old. 80% of the women who gave birth unwed were living below the poverty level. As of 2016, Rockland County had 15.9 births per 1,000. 22% of all births were cesarean sections. From 2014-2016 there was an infant mortality rate of 3.6 (“Maternal and Infant Health Indicators,” 2018). This is a good improvement from the 2011-2013 infant mortality rate of 4.4. This is also lower than the New York City rate of 4.3 (“NYC Health,” (2018) the New York State rate of 4.4, and the national rate of 5.8 (“New York State Community Health Indicator Reports,” 2018). It is also lower than the Healthy People 2020 target of an infant mortality rate of 6.0 (or fewer) infant deaths per 1,000 births (Maternal, Infant, and Child Health, 2014). The Rockland mortality rate for neonates (under 28 days) was 2.3 per 1,000 live births. According to a 2016-2018 assessment done by the Rockland County Department of Health, only 62.3% of women aged 18-44 saw a doctor for a routine check-up last year [and only] 33.3% of women had a discussion with their healthcare provider in planning for a healthy pregnancy” (2019). The percentage of births with adequate prenatal care was 71.4% which has decreased since the 2013 rate of 73.4%. The percentage of low birthweight (

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Suffern Community Assessment: Window Shield Survey. (2022, December 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 24, 2023, from
“Suffern Community Assessment: Window Shield Survey.” Edubirdie, 27 Dec. 2022,
Suffern Community Assessment: Window Shield Survey. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 24 Sept. 2023].
Suffern Community Assessment: Window Shield Survey [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Dec 27 [cited 2023 Sept 24]. Available from:
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