WNC County Health Rankings Up and Down

Mar 19, 2019

When it comes to the health of its counties Western North Carolina gets mixed reviews. BPR’s Helen Chickering has the latest results from the annual County Health Rankings and Roadmaps report.

Polk, Henderson, Transylvania, Madison and Buncombe rank among the state’s 25 healthiest counties.  The report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute tapped into local and national data everything from smoking rates to unemployment to compile health profiles of each state and county.

The County Health Rankings & Roadmaps ranks each of North Carolina’s 100 counties in two categories: overall health outcomes and overall health factors.  It uses a variety of county, national and government data to compile the health profiles of each county.

The report shows Cherokee and Swain rank among the unhealthiest counties coming in at 84 and 87, respectively.    Yancey, Macon, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Clay, Rutherford and McDowell counties are scattered in the middle. 

This year's report also takes a close look at  housing and health.  Ali  Havrilla is with County Health Rankings and Roadmaps and says 14 percent of  North Carolina households spent half of their income on housing.

“Opportunities for better health diminish, when most of a paycheck is going towards housing, leaving little money for necessities that contribute to good health, like healthy food,  access to medicine and transportation to go to work or school.”

The report finds overall, 18 percent of North Carolinians report being in fair or poor health, higher than the national average.  Helen Chickering, BPR News

You can find the full report here