News & Announcements

2017 County Health Rankings Key Findings Report

Posted: March 29, 2017

The County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program helps communities identify and implement solutions that make it easier for people to be healthy in their neighborhoods, schools, and workplaces. Ranking the health of nearly every county in the nation, the County Health Rankings illustrate what we know when it comes to what is keeping people healthy or making people sick and how the opportunity for good health differs from one county to the next. Supporting a call to action, the Roadmaps show what we can do to create healthier places for everyone to live, learn, work, and play. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation collaborates with the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute to bring this program to communities across the nation.

Now in its eighth year, the County Health Rankings continue to bring revealing data to communities across the nation.

  • More Americans are dying prematurely, notably among our younger generations
    • Premature death rates rose across urban and rural community types and racial/ethnic groups in 2015. Premature death has consistently been highest in rural counties and among American Indian/Alaskan Native and black populations.
    • In recent years, premature death increased most among those ages 15–44.
  • Drug overdose and other injury deaths heavily influenced the rise in premature death
    • Drug overdose was by far the single leading cause of premature death by injury in 2015 and contributed to the accelerated rise in premature death from 2014 to 2015.
    • Large suburban metro counties went from having the lowest to the highest rate of premature death due to drug overdose within the past decade.
    • For those ages 15–24, an increase in drug overdose deaths was part of the equation, but more deaths due to motor vehicle crashes and firearm fatalities also played a role in the accelerated rise in premature death.
  •  A focus on opportunities for youth and young adults
    • Disconnected youth (a new measure this year) are youth and young adults ages 16–24 who are not in school and not working, and represent untapped potential to strengthen the social and economic vibrancy of local communities. In 2015, there were about 4.9 million youth – or 1 out of 8 – not in school or working.
    • Youth disconnection is most prevalent among American Indian/Alaskan Native, black, and Hispanic youth. Rates of youth disconnection are higher in rural counties than in urban counties. Places with high levels of youth disconnection have higher rates of unemployment, child poverty, children in single-parent households, teen births, and lower levels of educational attainment – all barriers to a successful transition from youth to healthy adulthood.

Read more on CountyHealthRankings.org.



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