Saturday, April 30, 2022

2022 County Health Rankings are Out: Cambria Still Ranks Low

The 2022 County Health Rankings for every county in the U.S. were released this week. Cambria County's Health Outcomes rank is 62nd out of 67 counties in Pennsylvania. This ranking is a composite of length of life measures (63rd out of 67 counties) and quality of life measures (60th out of 67 counties). 

There is another ranking where the Cambria fares better. Health factors (Cambria Ranks 40 out of 67 counties) is a composite of four sub-measures: health behaviors (33rd), clinical care (57th), social and economic factors (37th), and the physical environment (38th). These sub-measures are themselves a composite of dozens of government statistics which are more informative than the overall ranking.

The length of life ranking is determined by one statistic: Years of potential life lost or YPLL. This statistic is the number of years lost before age 75. For example, if someone dies at age 25, they have 50 years of potential life lost. Cambria County had 9,600 YPLL compared to 7,600 for PA and 7,300 for the U.S in 2019. For African Americans in Cambria County, the YPLL rate was 20,900 compared to 9,200 for Caucasians. These numbers do not include the effect of the pandemic. Life expectancy is not included in the rankings but is easier to understand.

For the years 2018-2020, Cambria's overall life expectancy was 75.8 years. This is 2.2 years shorter than the state rate of 78.0 years and the U.S. rate of 79 years. For Caucasians, it was 76.1 years and for African Americans it was 66.9 years. One factor driving this racial disparity is child mortality.

For child mortality in Cambria County, the overall rate was 50 deaths per 100,000 and was the same as the overall state rate. However for African Americans, the rate was 160 deaths per 100,000 which was tied for the 2nd highest rate in the state. This rate was 4 times higher than the county Caucasian rate of 40 per 100,000.

Finally the COVID mortality rate for Cambria was 119 per 100,000. This was the 6th highest rate in the state. The overall rate was 88 per 100,000 in Pennsylvania. This death rate occurred on top of the other health issues enumerated in the County Health Rankings. It will take some time to sift out the relevant numbers for our county, I look forward to finding them.

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