Mar 25, 2024 - News

The Triangle's health outcomes rank among highest in the nation

<span style="text-align: center; display: block"> 2024 County Health Factors rankings</span>
Data: County Health Rankings; Note: Factors include prevalence of healthy behaviors, quality of clinical care, socio-economic indicators and physical environment; Map: Jared Whalen/Axios

The Triangle has some of the best health outcomes in the country — results that stand in contrast to much of rural eastern North Carolina, according to a new report.

Why it matters: Wake, Orange and Durham counties all have higher life expectancies and lower rates of premature death than the rest of the country.

  • That's according to County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, a program of the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

Zoom in: Orange County had some of the best health factors in the nation — posting the 17th highest score in the study among U.S. counties.

  • The county excelled in its ratio of doctors to residents, its low rate of teen births and children in poverty, its percentage of insured residents and physical activity rates.

Between the lines: The Triangle's outcomes are boosted by performing well in several of the factors that influence overall health.

  • It has lower smoking and obesity rates than the rest of the country.
  • Its economy is strong with a low unemployment rate and higher educational attainment.
  • And residents have greater access to primary care physicians, dentists and mental health providers.

Zoom out: The Triangle stands out in North Carolina — and much of the South, which has worse health outcomes than other regions of the country.

  • 54% of North Carolina's 100 counties have average or below average health factors, according to the study.
  • 23 of the counties with below average factors are in eastern North Carolina.

The fine print: The health indicators measured in the study included social and economic factors, like high school completion and unemployment rates, as well as things like pollution levels, access to doctors and commute lengths.

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