Report reveals health inequity by county in California

The recently released 2018 California County Health Rankings Report reveals health disparities throughout the state.

The report ranks 57 counties in California based off measurements of health outcomes and health factors. As a whole, the healthiest counties in California are along the coast and clustered around Southern California and in the Bay Area. The least healthy counties are grouped in Northern California and away from the coast.

Health Outcomes:

Health outcomes are measurements of how long people live, how healthy they feel, and the health measurements of newborns. The healthiest counties based on length and quality of health are Marin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Placer. Lowest county ranking for health outcomes are Lake, Siskiyou, and Plumas.

The report also evaluated disparities in health outcomes based on race/ethnicity.

Health Factors:

The report also measured health factors which it defines as “focus areas that drive how long and how well we live.” These factors include health behaviors (such as tobacco or alcohol abuse or diet/exercise), access to care, social and economic factors, and the quality of the physical environment.

The county rankings for health factors are similar to health outcomes rankings, with highest rankings going to Bay Area counties. However, more of the worst counties in terms of health factors are in Southern California.

The report specifically dives into rates of childhood poverty, high school graduation, health insurance, and teen births – all of which are related to an individual’s health. In California, 20 percent of children are living in poverty, which matches the national rate. However, based on county, the poverty rate for children ranges from 8 percent (San Mateo) to 37 percent (Fresno).

High school graduation rates range from 30 percent (Inyo) to 94 percent (Calaveras) and teen birth rates range from 8 per 1000 (Marin) to 50 per 1000 (Del Norte).

To improve health across all communities in California, the report outlines four main strategies:

  • Investing in education from early childhood into adulthood
  • Increasing supplement income for low income households
  • Improving access to affordable health care coverage
  • Improving social connections within communities

To explore the data further, county comparisons for a variety of health factors can be found here.

CountyHealth OutcomesHealth Factors
Alameda129
AlpineNRNR
Amador2818
Butte3732
Calaveras2222
Colusa2937
Contra Costa118
Del Norte3949
El Dorado177
Fresno5153
Glenn4245
Humboldt4930
Imperial3056
Inyo3525
Kern5257
Kings3348
Lake5752
Lassen3642
Los Angeles2334
Madera4051
Marin11
Mariposa3428
Mendocino4438
Merced4554
Modoc5335
Mono1521
Monterey2131
Napa512
Nevada1415
Orange66
Placer43
Plumas5529
Riverside2539
Sacramento3127
San Benito1924
San Bernardino4144
San Diego1020
San Francisco85
San Joaquin4643
San Luis Obispo1310
San Mateo22
Santa Barbara1817
Santa Clara34
Santa Cruz1613
Shasta4736
Sierra2726
Siskiyou5633
Solano2623
Sonoma711
Stanislaus3841
Sutter3240
Tehama4347
Trinity5446
Tulare5055
Tuolumne2419
Ventura916
Yolo2014
Yuba4850