Philadelphia was just ranked the least-healthy county in Pennsylvania (again) - Generocity Philly


Mar. 29, 2017 4:34 pm

Philadelphia was just ranked the least-healthy county in Pennsylvania (again)

That’s according to an annual County Health Rankings report that's ranked our city dead last for the past seven years.

A look at children in poverty throughout PA. That dark spot in the far right-bottom is us.

(Screenshot via County Health Rankings & Roadmaps)

If you needed any more evidence that Philly is not a very healthy city, here you go.

According to the 2017 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, an annual report from the Princeton-based Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin’s Population Health Institute that ranks the health of of nearly every county in every state, Philadelphia County is the least-healthy one in Pennsylvania.

This is the seventh year in a row that Philly has ranked at the bottom of the state’s 67 total counties.

The list is based on overall rankings in health outcomes, which are based on how long people live and how healthy people feel, and overall rankings in health factors, which are based on four types of measures: health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors, and physical environmental factors. All in all, the report looks at more than 30 individual health factors including income inequality, housing, jobs, education and more.

Interesting note: Philadelphia is surrounded by some of the healthiest counties in the state, with Chester and Montgomery being ranked first and fourth, respectively.

Let’s take a look at how our county does with some of those health factors:

  • 24 percent of households in Philadelphia had at least one out of four of these issues — overcrowding, high housing costs, lack of kitchen facilities or lack of plumbing facilities — according to 2009-2013 data (compared to the overall 15 percent in the state)
  • 14 percent of the population under age 65 don’t have health insurance, according to 2014 data (compared to the overall 10 percent in the state)
  • 38 percent of children under age 18 live in poverty, according to 2015 data (compared to the overall 19 percent in the state)
  • 6.9 percent of the population aged 16 and older are unemployed but seeking work, according to 2015 data (compared to the overall 5.1 percent in the state)
  • On a range from 0 to 10, worst to best, Philadelphia has an index of 6.4 considering factors that contribute to a healthy food environment, according to 2010 and 2014 data (compared to the overall index of 7.8 in the state)

One overall trend that the report took a closer look at this year was premature deaths between 1997 and 2014, categorized as deaths occurring for people under age 65, and a big contributor to these deaths nationally was drug overdoses, mainly among 15- to 44-year-olds. (Philadelphia had 1,486 drug overdose deaths per 100,000 population, according to 2013-2015 data, with a mortality rate of 32.)

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The Mayor’s Opioid Task Force conducted its final meeting last Wednesday, so we’ll have to wait and see how our city addresses this issue.

A new measure introduced in this year’s rankings report, disconnected youth, focused on people between ages 16 and 24 who are not in school or working. While the measure wasn’t included in the overall rankings, 19 percent of teens and young adults in Philly are neither working nor in school, something that the report says can be addressed with the increasing of opportunities for this population.

“Young adults who are not in school or working represent untapped potential in our communities and our nation that we can’t afford to waste,” said Julie Willems Van Dijk, director of the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps. “Communities addressing issues such as poverty, unemployment, and education can make a difference creating opportunities for all youth and young adults.”

Check out the datasets for yourself here.


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