Understanding Our County’s Rankings
The University of Wisconsin and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released new health data on March 14 for every county in the United States. There are three goals for this effort. The first is to help community leaders understand what influences the health of residents. The second is to identify challenges and opportunities to improve these outcomes for all. And the third is to help communities build a culture of health where people live, learn, work and play.
The data snapshot can be used as a starting point for interested residents working to improve health in Delaware County. The health rankings are designed to spur discussion about what can be done to improve the health of county residents and help them live long and healthy lives.
So how healthy are Delaware County residents? Learn more by going to the County Health Rankings page for Delaware County. Note: to see a fuller picture of findings for our area, please select the two checkboxes at the top of chart. One is labeled “Areas to explore.” (The data will appear in orange as you scroll down). The other is labeled “Show areas of strength.” (The data will appear in purple as you scroll down). We encourage you to focus on the county’s many areas of strength. These provide the foundation for us to work together in the coming years to improve health for Delaware County residents.
Health Outcomes (green row) includes measures on Length of Life and Quality of Life. These measures show the current health of county residents. Delaware County is ranked 49th out of 67 Pennsylvania counties in Health Outcomes. On Length of Life, the county ranks 32nd. On Quality of Life, the county ranks 56th. More residents reported “poor or fair health,” “poor physical health days” and “poor mental health days” in 2018 than in 2017. The low birthweight rate (which carries more importance in the rankings) is stable but high (9 percent). And it is worse for African-American women (12 percent).
Health Factors (blue row) includes measures on Health Behaviors, Clinical Care, Social and Economic Factors, and Physical Environment. These are drivers of health, or things that can be modified to improve health. Fortunately, Delaware County has adequate numbers of health, mental health and dental providers. However, under the category of Social and Economic Factors, the high school graduation rate is low compared with the overall Pennsylvania rate. Other health factors such as income inequality, violent crime and preventable injuries provide opportunities for improvement as well.
For more than a decade, the County Health Rankings have shown that where you live makes a difference in how well and how long you live. This year, the analyses show that meaningful health gaps persist not only by place, but also by race and ethnicity. In Delaware County, significant gaps exist in rates of Years of Potential Life Lost (deaths that occur before a person reaches an expected age of 75), Low Birthweight, Teen Birth Rate, and Children in Poverty.
The Foundation for Delaware County, through its programs and grantmaking, is working to improve the county’s health outcomes. We are joined by other numerous organizations and individuals across the county with a similar mission. We invite you to join us as we work in partnership in the coming years.
You can also learn more about how the ranking model works and how it can be used to improve health in Delaware County. In addition, the County Health Rankings website has many other resources to help communities take action to improve health and learn from others.