The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute have released the 2015 County Health Rankings, a comprehensive nationwide county-by-county resource ranking 30 factors that impact health, including education, transportation, housing, violent crime, jobs, diet, and exercise.
Among the most significant findings of this year's rankings:
*Almost one out of four children in the U.S. lives in poverty. Child poverty rates are more than twice as high in the unhealthiest counties in each state than in the healthiest counties
*Premature deaths are dropping, with 60 percent of the nations counties seeing declines. For instance, in the District of Columbia premature death rates have plummeted by nearly one-third based on data from 2004-2006 and 2010-2012. This marks the highest drop in the country for counties with populations of 65,000 or more. But 40 percent of counties are not making progress in reducing premature deaths
*Violent crime rates, which affect health, well-being, and stress levels, are highest in the Southwest, Southeast, and Mississippi Delta regions
*Unemployment rates are 1.5 times higher in the least healthy counties in each state as they are in the healthiest counties, which have higher college attendance, fewer preventable hospital stays, and better access to parks and gyms. The least healthy counties in each state have more smokers, more teen births, and more alcohol related car crashes.
The rankings are available here.
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