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Public Health

Dallas County is the Least Healthy County in DFW

But the county did score higher than other urban regions like Harris, Bexar, and El Paso counties.
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U.S. News and World Report released its ranking of 3,000 U.S. counties and county-equivalents, and Dallas County didn’t score well. With an overall score of 43.4 out of 100, it ranked below all of its immediate neighbors in DFW. 

The report analyzes 84 factors in ten categories to define the health of a community and gave each area a ranking for the categories and an overall score that is relative to the other communities. Nationwide, the southern states had many of the lowest-ranked counties, while the northeast, midwest, and mountain west scored better on average. The top-ranked county was Los Alamos County in New Mexico, and two of the top four were in Colorado.  

While boasting decent scores for population health, infrastructure, and the economy, Dallas County’s score suffered from low marks in equity, housing, and community vitality. The county’s overall score was a smidge higher than the state average (42) and slightly lower than the national average (46). 

Population health measures access to care, behaviors, mental health, and outcomes. Equity looks at income, education, health, and social equality to determine how all community members can live a healthy life. Housing looks at the availability of affordable quality housing, and community vitality analyzes the stability of a community’s social cohesion. 

Dallas has long struggled with an income, education, and opportunity divide. With one of the country’s worst health insurance rates, a lack of affordable housing has resulted in federal investigations and some of the country’s worst upward mobility. This study is more evidence that Dallas has a long way to go. 

Dallas’ immediate neighbors faired better, with Tarrant County scoring 50.4, Ellis at 56, Kaufman at 52.1, Denton at 68.5, and Rockwall at 72.4. According to the report, Collin County, which scored an impressive 76.4, is the 52nd healthiest community in the country. 

Compared to other major metropolitan areas in the state, Dallas County scored better than Harris (37.3), Bexar (49), and El Paso (43.6), but was behind Travis (64.4). 

Explore the full rankings and methodology here

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