Philadelphia Ranked Least Healthy County in Pennsylvania
Welp, this is upsetting: Yesterday, County Health Rankings and Roadmaps, a non-profit organization that — you guessed it! — ranks the country’s counties based on health, released its 2016 rankings. Can you guess where Philadelphia falls when it comes to health in Pennsylvania? Dead last, folks. Of all 67 counties in Pennsylvania, Philadelphia County is ranked as the least healthy. But, while this is upsetting, it’s nothing new: Philadelphia has consistently scored at the bottom of the list since County Health Rankings started ranking the country’s counties in 2010.
So, why? Well, the County Health Rankings are based on eight factors: Overall health outcomes, length of life, quality of life, overall health factors, health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors, and physical environment. They use over 20 data sources to gather information on each state and county, then rank the counties in each state to see how they stack up. Obviously, when it comes to Philadelphia, we’re not doing so hot.
Nearly a quarter of individuals living in Philadelphia County describe their health as “poor” or “fair” compared to just 11 percent of residents in nearby Chester County, which is ranked as the healthiest county in Pennsylvania. Health and quality of life go hand in hand, so that’s no good. Philadelphia’s physical inactivity rates are also high, with 26 percent of the population reporting they hadn’t engaged in any leisure-time physical activity, including walking, in the past month — despite having a 100 percent score in access to exercise opportunities, higher than the average for the state. (Insert face hitting palm here.) For comparison, Chester’s rate of physical inactivity is 17 percent and nearby Bucks County, coming in at sixth on the list, has a physical inactivity rate of 22 percent.
Another sore point in our ranking is our food environment index score, which is a 6.5 out of 10, 1.2 points lower than the Pennsylvania average and 2 full points lower than Bucks County. The food environment index weights two big players in health: the percentage of the population that is low income and doesn’t live close to a grocery store (close is considered within a mile for non-rural areas), along with the percentage of the population who didn’t have access to a reliable source of food in the past year.
Plenty of other statistics play into our low ranking on this list, including a high percentage of smokers, a high number of diagnosed sexually transmitted infections, and an upsettingly high percentage — 37 percent, to be exact — of children living in poverty. You can check out the full ranking here. Just be warned: If you’re anything like me, you might lose an hour or two of your day poking around.
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