Recently, the 2022 County Health Rankings were released. For more than a decade, the annual Rankings have helped to broaden the nation’s understanding about what shapes health by providing data on more than 90 health-influencing factors. Local leaders across the nation can use the Rankings to find county-level data on factors including housing, unemployment and high school completion that all impact how well and how long we live. Communities can also explore ways they can take action with more than 400 evidence-informed strategies in the What Works for Health tool.
In addition to county snapshots and State Reports focused on childcare affordability, this year’s Rankings explore the importance of pursuing economic security as we all seek to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2022 National Findings Report details how making enough wages to pay for basic necessities like rent, childcare and food contributes to health and well-being. With a focused look at solutions that help to ensure a living wage, eliminate the gender pay gap, lower childcare costs and create more equitable school funding, the report can be a resource for all communities on the path toward economic security. Overall, the report found:
- A household of one adult and two children would need to earn an average living wage of $35.80 per hour to meet basic needs. Yet in nearly every county, typical wages are far less.
- Women make little more than 80 cents on the dollar that men earn nearly 60 years after the Equal Pay Act was passed to ban wage discrimination based on gender.
- Across counties, on average, a family with two children spends as much as 25% of their household income on childcare – well above the federal affordability benchmark of 7%.
- Half of all counties operate with a public school funding deficit, on average needing to spend over $3,000 more per student annually. Rural counties are disproportionately represented among counties with large school funding deficits – in fact, 70% of counties with deficits of more than $4,500 per student, annually, are rural.
County leaders can dig deep into their local data, start conversations with community partners and take action with evidence-informed solutions to create fair economic systems and address past harms to ensure healthy and thriving communities. To learn more:
- Listen to our newly launched podcast, In Solidarity, that explores the connections between power, place and health through interviews with some of the country's brightest minds and biggest thinkers. A six-episode series dives into the racial wealth divide’s connection to our health.
- Join a two-part webinar series entitled Unjust and Unfair: Health Consequences of the Racial Wealth Divide, where participants will delve into the reasons behind the wealth gap and solutions communities could employ to close it.