The first set of reports to rank the overall health of every county in all 50 states—are now available on www.countyhealthrankings.org. The 50-state report, released by the University of Wisconsin’s Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, help public health and community leaders, policy-makers, consumers and others to see how healthy their county is, compare it with others within their state and find ways to improve the health of their community.
Each county is ranked within the state on how healthy people are and how long they live. They also are ranked on key factors that affect health such as: smoking, obesity, binge drinking, access to primary care providers, rates of high school graduation, rates of violent crime, air pollution levels, liquor store density, unemployment rates and number of children living in poverty.
Other studies have ranked states on health factors, but this is the first time researchers have examined the multiple factors that affect health in each county in all 50 states.
Researchers used five measures to assess the level of overall health or “health outcomes” by county: the rate of people dying before age 75; the percentage of people who reported being in fair or poor health; the number of days people reported being in poor physical health; number of days in poor mental health; and the rate of low-birth weight infants. Researchers then looked at factors that affect people’s health within four categories: health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors, and physical environment.