March 26, 2014
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Annual rankings show where Pennsylvania Counties do well and where there are opportunities for improvement

PHILADELPHIA—Union County ranks healthiest in Pennsylvania while Philadelphia County is the least healthy county in the state, according to the fifth annual County Health Rankings, released today by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute (UWPHI). The Rankings are available at Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC), Pennsylvania's non-profit public health institute, was selected to lead the analysis of the Rankings results for Pennsylvania.

"As the state team lead agency analyzing the Rankings for Pennsylvania, we find that the information is an important way to understand the relationship between where we live and our health," said Francine Axler, Managing Director of PHMC's Center for Data Innovation at Public Health Management Corporation. "It's helpful to see where certain counties need improvement so public health organizations like PHMC can target and address specific health issues" says Rose Malinowski Weingartner, Senior Research Associate at PHMC.

The County Health Rankings rank the overall health of nearly every county in all 50 states. The Rankings allow counties to see how well they are doing on 29 factors that influence health, including smoking, high school graduation rates, employment, physical inactivity and access to healthy foods. Nationally, this year's Rankings show that people living in the least healthy counties are twice as likely to have shorter lives as people living in the healthiest counties. Unhealthy counties also have twice as many children living in poverty and twice as many teen births as the healthiest counties. This year's rankings also feature several new measures including housing, transportation and access to mental health providers.

According to the 2014 Rankings, the five healthiest counties in Pennsylvania, starting with the healthiest are Union, followed by Chester, Centre, Cumberland and Montgomery. The five counties in the poorest health, starting with the least healthy, are Philadelphia, Forest, Fayette, Green and Sullivan.

In Pennsylvania, regional Ranking highlights include:

Philadelphia 5-County Region(Bucks, Montgomery, Chester, Philadelphia, Delaware)

  • Health Outcomes: Chester ranked the highest as second in the state, followed by Montgomery in fifth, Bucks in 10th, Delaware in 41st and Philadelphia last in the state in 67th.
  • Health Factors: Chester ranked the highest as first, followed by Montgomery in second, Bucks in fifth, Delaware in 15th and Philadelphia last at 67th.
  • Even though Philadelphia County was last in the rankings, it still scored well in the categories of healthcare providers per capita, including dentists and mental health providers.
  • High ranking counties also use this survey to improve in vital areas. Montgomery and Chester County ranked well, but didn't score well in the category for alcohol impaired driving deaths with Montgomery at 37 percent and Chester at 41 percent exceeding the statewide average of 35 percent for alcohol impaired driving deaths.

Northeast Pennsylvania Counties(Berks, Bradford, Carbon, Lackawanna, Lehigh, Luzerne, Monroe, Northampton, Pike, Schuylkill, Sullivan, Susquehanna Wayne, Wyoming, Tioga)

  • Health Outcomes: The top five in the Northeast include 11th ranked Pike,Tioga in 14th, Berks in 16th, Lehigh in 19th and Northampton in 21st.
  • Health Factors: The top five in the Northeast include 12th ranked Northampton, Lehigh in 20th, Berks in 21st, Wane in 22nd and Pike in 26th.

Central Pennsylvania Counties(Adams, Bedford, Blair, Cambria,Centre, Clinton, Columbia, Cumberland, Dauphin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lycoming, Miflin, Montour, Northumberland, Perry, Snyder, Somerset, Union, York)

  • Health Outcomes: The top five in the Central include: first place Union, Centre in third, Cumberland in fourth, Snyder in sixth and Juniata in seventh.
  • Health Factors: The top five in the Central include: third ranked Centre, Cumberland in fourth, Montour in seventh, Lancaster in eighth and Union in ninth.

West Pennsylvania Counties(Allegheny, Armstrong, Butler, Beaver, Cameron, Clarion, Clearfield, Crawford, Erie, Elk, Fayette, Forest, Greene, Indiana, Jefferson, Lawrence, McKean, Mercer, Potter, Venango, Warren,Washington, Westmoreland)

  • Health Outcomes: The top five in the West include: eighth place Butler, Westmoreland in 23rd, Clarion in 24th, Crawford in 31st and Indiana in 32nd.
  • Health Factors: The top five in the West include: sixth place Butler, Westmoreland in 13th, Allegheny in 15th, Indiana in 23rd and Clarion in 31st.

"The Robert J. Wood Johnson Foundations' Rankings results and PHMC share the same mission - to improve the health of our communities," said Richard J. Cohen, president and CEO of PHMC. "This information in connection with our Community Health Database, one of the largest surveys in the country, helps us understand what we're doing right and also allows us tosharpen our focus to help specific regions become healthier."

The Rankings provide county-to-county comparisons within a state. The information will be used in concert with PHMC's Community Health Data Base and Household Health Survey - one of the largest local population health surveys in the country. The Rankings will be used as the base that Pennsylvania's lead agency, PHMC, uses to further analyze the results on a neighborhood level. The PHMC Community Health Database conducts biannual regional Household Health Surveys that further explores the trouble areas noted in the Rankings and collects targeted data to address the issues.

The County Health Rankings is part of the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps. The program includes the Roadmaps to Health Action Center, which provides local leaders with tolls, step-by-step guides, and stories to help communities identify and implement solutions that make it easier for people to live healthy lives. The program also includes the annual RWJF Culture of HealthPrize, which celebrates communities who are harnessing the collective power of leaders, partners and stakeholders to build a culture of health. This year's Prize winnersand the call for 2014-2015 prize applications will be announced in June at the Aspen Ideas Festival, Spotlight: Health.

"The County Health Rankings show us how health is influenced by our everyday surroundings – where we live, learn, work and play," said Bridget Catlin, PhD, MHSA, Director of the County Health Rankings. "The County Health Rankings often provide the spark for businesses, community planners, policy-makers, public health, parents and others to work together for better health."

About Public Health Management Corporation Center for Data Innovation
Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) is a nonprofit public health institute that creates and sustains healthier communities. The Center for Data Innovation includes the Community Health Data Base (CHDB) and its annual Household Health Survey, one of the largest regional health surveys in the country.The Pew Charitable Trusts, William Penn Foundation, United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, United Way of North Penn, Green Tree Community Health Foundation, North Penn Community Health Foundation, Thomas Scattergood Foundation, Pottstown Area Health and Wellness Foundation, and over 350 local agencies from the health, government, nonprofit and academic sectors, help to support the CHDB and survey. For more information visit

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of Americans, the foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change. For 40 more years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime. For more information, visit