Why Dallas Is North Texas’ Unhealthiest County

The richest county has the best health outcomes.

County-Health-Outcomes-Rankings

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin have today issued their annual County Health Rankings, and by their measures of health outcomes based upon various physical, social, and economic factors, Collin County is the healthiest of all of the 241 Texas counties ranked (our state has 254 counties total).

It’s not surprising that one of the Texas’ wealthiest counties, with abundant access to medical care, has a healthier population overall. Likewise Denton’s (No. 4) and Rockwall’s (No. 7) places on the list make sense.

Among the state’s other big-city counties, Dallas County (No. 77) doesn’t perform as well in outcomes as Harris (No. 41) or Travis (No. 9!), but we are better off than Bexar (San Antonio) at No. 81.

Here’s a sampling of how Dallas stacks up against adjacent counties, as well as the U.S. and state medians, on several (but far from all) of the factors involved in calculating these rankings. Income ratio takes the income at the 80th-percentile and divides that by the income level of the county’s 20th-percentile to determine income inequality:

 

County Health Outcomes Ranking Primary Care Physician Ratio % Obese % Physically Inactive % Uninsured % Unemployed % Children in Poverty Income Ratio of 80%/20%
Collin 1 1102:1 25 20 16 4.5 9 4.1
Denton 4 1595:1 24 21 17 4.4 10 4.1
Rockwall 7 1375:1 28 29 18 4.5 9 3.6
Ellis 22 2400:1 29 25 22 4.9 17 4.0
Tarrant 41 1728:1 28 26 23 5.0 22 4.5
Kaufman 65 3393:1 31 29 23 5.1 19 4.2
Dallas 77 1519:1 28 25 29 5.4 29 4.7
U.S. Median 000 1990:1 31 28 17 6.0 23 4.4
State Overall 000 1680:1 28 24 25 5.1 25 4.9

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