County Health Rankings & Roadmaps (CHR&R) lifts up actionable data, evidence, guidance, and stories for communities to make it easier for people to be healthy in their neighborhoods, schools, and workplaces. Ranking the health of nearly every county in the nation, CHR&R illustrates what we currently know when it comes to what is keeping people healthy or making them sick and shows what we can do to create healthier places to live, learn, work, and play. CHR&R brings actionable data and strategies to communities working to ensure that healthy places are available to all. This report highlights how health outcomes and health factors differ by place within your state AND illustrates how health differs among racial/ethnic groups within places.
Difference in Health Outcomes
What are Health Outcomes?
Everyone wants to experience long and healthy lives, yet places have different resources and opportunities. To understand the health outcomes in a community, we measure both length and quality of life by county within Virginia.
How Do Counties Rank for Health Outcomes?
The green map shows the distribution of Virginia’s health outcome ranks across counties. The map is divided into four quartiles with less color intensity indicating better health outcomes in the respective summary rankings. Specific county ranks can be found in your Virginia state overview.
What Do Differences Between Ranks Mean?
Counties are ordered by the health outcome rank, with a top-ranked county (rank = 1) having the best health outcome score. Ranks are easy to communicate, but they mask differences in health within counties and from one ranked county to the next. The chart next to the map shows the spread of health outcome scores (ranks) for each county (green circles) in Virginia. This graphic shows the size of the gap between ranked counties. The different background colors correspond to the four quartiles used in the map.
Figure 1. Health Outcome ranks displayed using quartiles (map) and underlying health outcome scores (chart)
Differences in Health Factors
What are Health Factors?
Many factors shape our opportunities to be healthy and influence how well and how long we live. Health factors represent the things we can change to improve health for all, like opportunities for quality education, good paying jobs, access to quality clinical care, healthy foods, green spaces, and secure and affordable housing. We measure four health factor areas.
How Do Counties Rank for Health Factors?
The blue map shows the distribution of Virginia’s health factor ranks across counties. The map is divided into four quartiles with less color intensity indicating better health factors in the respective summary rankings. Specific county ranks can be found in your Virginia state overview.
What Do Differences Between Ranks Mean?
Counties are ordered by the health factor rank, with a top-ranked county (rank = 1) having the best health factor score. As previously noted, ranks mask differences in the opportunity for health within counties and from one county to the next. The chart next to the map shows the spread of health factor scores (ranks) for each ranked county (blue circles) in Virginia. This graphic shows the size of the gap between ranked counties. The different background colors correspond to the four quartiles used in the map.
Figure 2. Health Factor ranks displayed using quartiles (map) and underlying health factor scores (chart)
Growing Healthy Places Means Ensuring Opportunities for All
Health is influenced by every aspect of how and where we live. Access to secure and affordable housing, safe neighborhoods, good paying jobs and quality early childhood education are examples of important factors that can put people on a path to a healthier life. But access to these opportunities often looks different based on where you live, the color of your skin, or the circumstances you were born into. Data show a persistent pattern in barriers to opportunity for people with lower incomes and for communities of color across the United States. Patterned differences in a range of health factors emerge from unfair policies and practices at many levels and over many decades.
Using Data for Action
Achieving health equity means reducing and ultimately eliminating unjust and avoidable differences in opportunity and health. Our progress toward health equity will be measured by how health disparities change over time. Visit www.countyhealthrankings.org to learn more about:
- Health outcome and factor measures for your state and county;
- Measures that have data available for racial and ethnic groups to illuminate differences in opportunities for health in your state and county;
- Additional data resources for Virginia that provide information about health and opportunity among other subgroups, such as gender, age, or zip code.
What Has Been Done Can Be Undone
Many communities are mobilizing state and local efforts to harness the collective power of community members, partners, and policymakers – working together to dismantle unfair patterns and ensure the growth of healthy places for all. To learn from others who are igniting possibilities and inspiring action, visit www.countyhealthrankings.org/learn-from-others
Opportunities for Health within Virginia Counties
A healthy beginning is essential to a healthy future for our children and our communities. Children in poverty is a measure of both current and future opportunities for the health of the community. Patterns of unfair and avoidable differences at the local, state, and national level exist among racial and ethnic groups for children living in poverty.
The graphic below shows the patterns of children living in poverty for individual counties in Virginia and among racial and ethnic groups within counties of Virginia. It also shows the data for all counties across the nation in the gray circles beneath the Virginia data.
Key Takeaways for Children Living in Poverty in Virginia
Want to learn more? Try our interactive diagram
Explore the data to see differences and patterns in health across your state among racial and ethnic groups for three measures: children in poverty, percent low birthweight, and median household income.
Courtney Blomme, MS, RD
Anne Roubal, PhD, MS
Marjory Givens, PhD, MSPH
Sheri Johnson, PhD
Lawrence Brown, PhD
Amanda Gatewood, PhD
Keith Gennuso, PhD
Joe Hinton, MA
Eunice Park, MIS
Elizabeth Pollock, PhD
Matthew Rodock, MPH
With contributions from our CHR&R team including:
What Works for Health
RWJF Culture of Health Prize
This work could not be done without our partnerships with
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for providing us with key health indicators
Burness for supporting our communication efforts
Forum One for website design and support
This work is possible thanks to a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute