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Where Does Your County Rank for Health?

Annual report highlights the ways economic insecurity, policy, and behaviors influence health

April 29, 2022

A new report from the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation evaluates the health of all 67 Pennsylvania counties and thousands of others across the U.S.

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

The report includes data from the first year of the pandemic and policies that may help improve community health. It also features new measures this year related to income, education, and family and social support, highlighting how economic disparities along gender and racial lines still challenge the nation’s health.

“As we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and the layered crises of racism and economic exclusion, we can work to ensure that individuals, households, and communities can meet their essential needs with dignity and pursue opportunities for health,” the report notes.

Among the notable findings at the state and national level:

  • Health outcomes:  Pennsylvania’s overall metrics for the number of Pennsylvanians in poor or fair health, having poor physical or mental health days, and low birthweight births mirrored national averages.
  • Health factors:  Pennsylvania’s obesity rate (33%) was close to the national average (32%). The state’s uninsured rate for people under 65 (7%) was better than the national average (11%).
  • County view:  Chester County ranked first for health outcomes and health factors. Centre County ranked second for health outcomes and fourth for health factors. Union County was third for health outcomes and eighth for health factors.
  • The costs of childcare:  The burden of childcare costs vary from county to county in Pennsylvania, ranging from 18 percent to 38 percent of household income. The U.S. benchmark for affordability is no more than 7 percent of household income, the report notes.
  • Quotable:  “As we look to recover, we have opportunities to imagine what is possible and rebuild in ways that work for everyone,” the report said.

HAP and Pennsylvania’s hospitals are dedicated to improving the health of our local communities. Learn more about HAP’s population health efforts.

The national report, as well as Pennsylvania’s county-by-county snapshot, is available online. Interactive data from the report is also available.