Report reveals health inequity by county in Washington State

The recently released 2018 County Health Rankings Report: Washington reveals significant health disparities across the state.

The report analyzed health outcomes and health factors to determine a county’s ranking.

Counties had similar rankings for both categories, generally falling within the same quartile. Ferry County was ranked the lowest for both categories, while King, San Juan and Snohomish Counties had the top three rankings in both categories.

Health Outcomes

According to the report, health outcomes “represent measures of how long people live and how healthy people feel.” Health outcomes take into account premature death, quality of life and the percentage of low birth weight newborns.

In Washington, the counties with the best health outcomes are generally centered around the Puget Sound, with health outcomes getting worse farther out from the Puget Sound.

While Washington State as a whole has either better or equal health outcomes compared to the national average, the lowest ranked counties in the state have worse health outcomes in all five areas measured.

Health Factors

The map ranking health factors in the state is similar to health outcomes, with nine of the ten the top ranked counties centered around the Puget Sound region.

In addition to health behavioral, social and economic factors and the physical environment, the report reveals significant disparities in access to care.

These disparities are true for other areas such as adult obesity (20% vs. 36%), access to exercise opportunities (12% vs. 98%), unemployment (3.9% vs. 10.8%), and children in poverty (9% vs. 28%).

In order to improve health equity, the report outlines four main strategies.

  1. Invest in education from early childhood through adulthood to boost employment and career prospects.
  2. Increase or supplement income and support asset development in low income households.
  3. Ensure that everyone has adequate, affordable health care coverage and receives culturally competent services and care.
  4. Foster social connections within communities and cultivate empowered and civically engaged youth.

Additional data can be viewed here.

ACHCountyHealth OutcomesHealth Factors
Better Health TogetherAdams3433
Greater Columbia ACHAsotin2128
Greater Columbia ACHBenton1218
North Central ACHChelan108
Olympic Community of HealthClallam2617
SWACHClark912
Greater Columbia ACHColumbia3722
Cascade Pacific Action AllianceCowlitz2930
North Central ACHDouglas1319
Better Health TogetherFerry3939
Greater Columbia ACHFranklin1535
Greater Columbia ACHGarfield2510
North Central ACHGrant2431
Cascade Pacific Action AllianceGrays Harbor3536
North Sound ACHIsland45
Olympic Community of HealthJefferson59
HealthierHereKing21
Olympic Community of HealthKitsap84
Greater Columbia ACHKittitas1114
SWACHKlickitat2020
Cascade Pacific Action AllianceLewis2732
Better Health TogetherLincoln1416
Cascade Pacific Action AllianceMason2837
North Central ACHOkanogan3234
Cascade Pacific Action AlliancePacific3627
Better Health TogetherPend Oreille3829
Pierce County ACHPierce1924
North Sound ACHSan Juan12
North Sound ACHSkagit1623
SWACHSkamania2221
North Sound ACHSnohomish33
Better Health TogetherSpokane2315
Better Health TogetherStevens3026
Cascade Pacific Action AllianceThurston67
Cascade Pacific Action AllianceWahkiakum3325
Greater Columbia ACHWalla Walla1811
North Sound ACHWhatcom76
Greater Columbia ACHWhitman1713
Greater Columbia ACHYakima3138

Note: We included which ACH each county belong to as another point of comparison.