The healthiest and least healthy counties in New Jersey
Where you live can affect how long and how well you live.
And with new county-by-county rankings from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, it's clear that good health is influenced by many factors beyond medical care, such as education, housing and jobs.
Morris County has replaced Hunterdon County as the healthiest in New Jersey, according to the collaboration's ninth report. As it has in past reports, Cumberland County ranks as the unhealthiest.
Click on a county below to see its individual scorecard.
No county moved up or down more than two spots from 2017.
"Ultimately this is about providing communities with data and information so they can understand where they need to improve, where they’re already doing well, and make the best decisions they can on how to improve health," Giridhar Mallya, senior policy officer at the RWJ Foundation, told New Jersey 101.5.
Mallya said many people believe medical care is the most important factor when determining a person's or community's health. But care is just one piece of the puzzle, he said, along with behaviors, the physical environment, and social and economic factors.
The 2018 report highlighted gaps in health related to race and ethnicity. A shortage of opportunities for success were shown to disproportionately affect people of color nationwide and in New Jersey.
In Monmouth County, where 75 percent of the population is white, the child poverty rate was recorded at 9 percent, the high-school graduation rate at 94 percent, and unemployment at 4.4 percent.
Essex County, where less than a third of the population is white, is dealing with a child poverty rate of 21 percent, while 83 percent of youth graduate high school and 6 percent of the work-age population is unemployed.
“Communities of color are exposed to many public health risks at rates that far exceed the general population: lead exposure, infant mortality, and maternal mortality are just a few of these risks,” Shereef Elnahal, New Jersey's acting health commissioner, said in a news release. “Decreasing these disparities is a top priority for me and the entire department. Sharing data and trends through reports like the County Health Rankings empowers communities to improve health outcomes and develop solutions to address disparities.”
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