2016 County Health Rankings Key Findings Report

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

To read the full report, click the links above. A summary of key findings from this report include:

  • Rural counties have had the highest rates of premature death for many years, lagging far behind other counties. While urban counties continue to show improvement, premature death rates are worsening in rural counties.
  • Looking solely at state averages for the factors that influence health masks the significant gaps in health that exist between counties within each state.
  • Three new measures are highlighted:
    • Residential segregation of blacks and whites is a fundamental cause of health disparities in the US. Black/white residential segregation is highest in the Northeast and Great Lakes region and lowest along the Southeastern seaboard.
    • The rate of deaths due to drug overdoses has increased 79 percent since 2002. Drug overdose deaths are highest in Northern Appalachia and in parts of the West/ Southwest, and lowest in the Northeast. Compared with other types of counties, rural counties have higher rates of drug overdose deaths.
    • Sleep is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Insufficient sleep can have serious negative effects on health. On average, about one third of adults report getting insufficient sleep (less than 7 hours a night on average). In some counties, almost one in two residents report insufficient sleep.