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How Does your County Rank for Health?

April 06, 2023

The University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute has released its annual report ranking the health of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties and thousands of others across the U.S.

This year’s ranking and health roadmap focuses on the connection between “civic health and thriving people and places.” This includes the spaces that help people stay connected (schools, parks, libraries, etc.), and the ways people engage in community life.

“Civic health reflects the opportunities people have to participate in their communities,” the report notes. “It starts in our local communities and is the cornerstone of our democracy, representing promise, opportunity, belonging, and shared responsibility.” 

The annual report considers the factors that influence health (smoking, obesity, access to care, education, housing, etc.) and key outcome measures (premature death, quality of life metrics, and low-birthweight) for all U.S. counties.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • State trends: Pennsylvania had rates similar to the national average for adult obesity (32%), smoking (17%), and physical inactivity (23%).
  • County health outcomes: Chester, Centre, and Union counties topped the rankings for health outcomes, which evaluate how long people live on average within a community.
    • Philadelphia, Fayette, and Lawrence counties ranked at the bottom of the state for health outcomes.
  • County factors: Montgomery, Chester, and Bucks ranked highest for health factors.
    • Forest, Philadelphia, and Fayette ranked last in the state for health factors.
  • Uninsured: In Pennsylvania, 8 percent of people under 65 did not have health insurance, ahead of the national average (10%).
  • Quotable:  “Our civic health must be nurtured. Intentional investments in civic spaces that foster inclusive participation can have a positive impact on health equity,” the report notes.

The University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute created the rankings for communities across the nation to assess their health. It is published with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

HAP and Pennsylvania’s hospitals are working to improve the health of their patients, their employees, and the communities they serve. Learn more about HAP’s population health efforts.

The report and the by-county rankings for Pennsylvania are available online.