The 2011 County Health Rankings ranked San Bernardino County—which spans more than 20,000 square miles and a population of more than 2 million—50th out of 56 California counties in health factors like physical environment, social and economic factors, health behaviors and clinical care. The city of San Bernardino alone faces significant public health challenges, with a lower life expectancy, a higher homicide rate, and fewer parks and healthy food options than the rest of the state. Many other communities throughout the county share similar challenges associated with the county’s high poverty and unemployment levels, and its vast geography makes it difficult for many residents to reach centralized services.
“The County Health Rankings are a terrific tool for us to take to policymakers because we can show that the status quo isn’t sufficient,” said Evelyn Trevino, program coordinator for San Bernardino County Healthy Communities. “It motivates support and action. We use it to get the message out.”