HAP Blog

What’s Changed in PA’s County Health Rankings?

March 21, 2024

The new County Health Rankings and Roadmaps report takes a fresh look at the health of all 67 Pennsylvania counties, and more than 3,000 others around the country.

Based on feedback from the field, the annual report from the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute does away with numerical ranking of counties and offers a different way to assess community health.

“Instead of seeing that you’re ranked 82 healthiest county out of 83, you’ll now see your counties health on a continuum and be able to determine where there are meaningful similarities or differences from one county to the next,” Bethany Rogerson, co-director County Health Rankings and Roadmaps, said earlier this month. “This can help people working to improve the health of their counties to identify and connect with others that share similarities and challenges.”

Here's what you need to know:

  • The change:  The new rankings consider the health outcomes and factors that contribute to health, and place counties on a spectrum from least healthy to most healthy in the nation.
  • Pennsylvania:  For health outcomes, several counties fared better than average compared to their national peers, including Centre, Union, Montgomery, and Chester.
  • Health outcomes:  Pennsylvania was near the national average when it comes to the number of adults who consider themselves in fair or poor health (15%); the number of poor mental health days people experienced during the past 30 days (4.7); and low birthweight births (8%).
  • Health factors:  Pennsylvania’s smoking (15%), obesity (33%), and physical inactivity rates (23%) all were close to the national average.
    • The state’s uninsured rate (7%) compared favorably to the national average (10%).
  • Quotable:  “Structural determinants of health show up in society’s written and unwritten rules, which extend to laws, policies, institutional practices, and the ways resources are shared and public money is spent. They create and maintain advantages for some and disadvantages for others,” the report authors noted.

HAP and Pennsylvania hospitals are committed to our shared vision of a healthy Pennsylvania.  Learn more about our initiatives to address social determinants of health.

The report for Pennsylvania and a searchable index for Pennsylvania counties is available online.

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