Mar 26, 2024 - News

San Diego County is healthier than most, study finds

<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

San Diego County is healthier than most counties across the country, a new report suggests.

Why it matters: San Diego residents have a longer life expectancy and lower rate of premature death than the rest of California and the U.S.

The fine print: The study not only measured health outcomes, but also indicators including healthy behaviors, quality of clinical care, social and economic factors, and physical environment — all of which can be improved for longer, healthier lives.

Zoom in: San Diego County's health factors are about the same as the average county in California, but better than the national average.

The county's biggest strengths:

  • Adults participating in physical activity and their access to exercise.
  • Low rate of teen births (which have been associated with adverse health outcomes).
  • High ratios of doctors and mental health providers to residents.
  • High percentage of insured residents.
  • High percentage of college-educated people.
  • Low unemployment and child poverty rates.

The setbacks: More air pollution, severe housing problems and excessive drinking.

The big picture: California is a mixed bag, with counties having some of the highest and lowest quality-of-health factors.

  • 64% of California's 58 counties are better than the national average by the study's measurements, and 14% are worse.
  • The Bay Area, including San Francisco County, ranked among the nation's best in terms of health factors.
  • Meanwhile, Imperial County, on San Diego's eastern border, ranked among the nation's worst for those same measurements.

What they're saying: Places with strong civic infrastructure, such as broadband internet access and public libraries, are often healthier, County Health Rankings & Roadmaps said in a recent news release.

  • "These counties are often located in the Northeast and Western regions of the country and tend to also experience more social and economic opportunities and longer life expectancy.Zoom in: San Diego County's health factors are about the same as the average county in California, but better than the national average."
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