Aug. 15, 2016 3:17 pm

Surprise! Philly is not a very healthy city

The City's Community Health Explorer compares public health indicators in Philadelphia with other major U.S. cities and highlights racial disparities, among other features.



Editor's note: This story has been updated to more accurately reflect why the Community Health Explorer was developed. Edit 8/16 @ 11:58 a.m.
If you curve your hand around your ears and listen closely, you can almost hear the collective “aye-yai-yai” of public health nuts across Philadelphia navigating the City’s newest data visualization tool.

Last week, the City of Philadelphia debuted Community Health Explorer, a tool that allows users to peruse visualizations of 77 different health indicators ranging from smoking prevalence to premature death and life expectancy. 

The tool serves as an aggressive reminder that there are some major health concerns in the city. Those concerns are contextualized by a side-by-side comparison pitting Philadelphia against 9 other major cities in the U.S. As reported by our sister-site Philly, Philadelphia is lagging behind its peers in metrics like obesity and premature death.

Community Health Explorer also visualizes racial disparities in the data, highlighting a number of inequities impacting the health of local minority populations. A few of those include:

  • 24.6 percent of Hispanic Philadelphians age 18 to 64 are are uninsured, 18.3 percent of which refused insurance due to high cost
  • 41.2 percent of the local Hispanic population lives in poverty
  • Premature death, infant mortality rates and smoking prevalence are all highest among the city’s Black population
  • Teen smoking, however, is highest among white Philadelphians

The Community Health Explorer was developed in collaboration with the Department of Public Health to offer an interactive and engaging way to showcase public health data, according to the city’s deputy communications director, Mike Dunn.


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