On March 19, 2019 the 2018 County Health Rankings and Roadmaps were officially released.

The County Health Rankings and Roadmaps program is a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. The annual County Health Rankings measure vital health factors, including high school graduation rates, obesity, smoking, unemployment, access to healthy foods, the quality of air and water, income inequality, and teen births in nearly every county in America.

The annual rankings provide a revealing snapshot of how health is influenced by where people live, learn, work and play. They provide a starting point for change in communities.

Tuscarawas County ranked 23 out of 88 Counties in Ohio for overall health outcomes. It is worth noting that the lower the ranking the better.

Health outcomes measure how long people live and how healthy people feel.

Health factors represent the focus areas that drive how long and how well people live. These include health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors, and the physical environment.

In 2019, Tuscarawas County ranked the poorest in clinical care at 73 out of 88 counties in Ohio. This is the worst ranking Tuscarawas County has received in a five-year period in any category. Tuscarawas County saw improved rankings in health behaviors, physical environment and quality of life; however the county received a worse ranking in social and economical factors.

Clinical Care in Tuscarawas County – 2019 73/88

Eight percent of the population in Tuscarawas County remained uninsured; this is an improvement of 12% from 2017 and 9% in 2018. 

Health Behaviors in Tuscarawas County – 2019 – 49/88

In 2017, it was identified that 17% of adults in Tuscarawas County are smokers. The 2018 report identifies that 21% of adults are smokers, this remains unchanged in 2019. 32% of Tuscarawas County residents are currently classified as obese. Additional alarming numbers include: 17% of adults report binge drinking or heavy drinking, 13% report food insecurities, 35% of driving deaths are related to alcohol and 28% report no physical activity.

Physical Environment in Tuscarawas County – 2019 – 24/88)

12% of residents report severe housing problems which include overcrowding, high costs or lack of kitchen or plumbing facilities, which remains unchanged from 2018. 85% of residents report driving to work alone compared to 83% Statewide. Only 27% report having a long, greater than 30-minute, commute to work. No drinking water violations were reported. 11% of residents have severe housing cost burden, which means that the household spends 50% or more of their income on housing.

Social and Economic Factors of Tuscarawas County – 2019- 42/88

Social and economic factors vary depending on where we live and by our racial/ethnic background. 86% of Tuscarawas County residents have a least a high school diploma or GED. The unemployment rate in Tuscarawas County is 5.0%, down 0.7% from 2018. 17% of Tuscarawas County children live in poverty and 29% of children live in single-parent households. The median household income is $51,400 which is a slight increase from 2018. 47% of children in Tuscarawas County are eligible for free and/or reduced lunches, up 5% from 2018.

Quality of Life in Tuscarawas County – 2019 – 35/88

18% of residents have poor or fair health. The current life expectancy in Tuscarawas County is 78.1 compared to Ohio at 77.0. 12% of residents have frequent mental distress, defined at 14 or more days of mental distress per month. The Ohio diabetes prevalence is 12%, whereas Tuscarawas County has 14%.

Conclusion

The healthiest counties in Ohio include Delaware, Putnam, Geauga, Medina and Holmes while the unhealthiest are Adams, Pike, Gallia, Meigs and Scioto. Tuscarawas County continues to rank in the top third. Officials said that while this is encouraging there is still much work that needs to be done in the area of clinical care and social and economic factors. All counties can take action to improve, no matter where they rank. It is not a race to the top and progress toward better health and change takes time – usually incrementally. The most important thing is to take action, which is already being done in collaborative efforts through coalitions such as HealthyTusc and AccessTusc. These coalitions aim to improve the health and welling of Tuscarawas County through coordinated efforts of many agencies and organizations.

For more information on the county health rankings or to compare counties in Ohio, please visit www.countyhealthrankings.org.