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A health care tale of two counties
March 20th, 2013
07:11 AM ET

A health care tale of two counties

Two New York boroughs, Manhattan and the Bronx, are separated by just a few stops on the subway. Nonetheless, they are vastly different in key public health measurements.

The Bronx ranks dead last for health among all counties in New York, while Manhattan (also known as New York County) is near the top third. The rankings were based on rates of premature death and health-related quality of life. The list was recently compiled and updated for every county in every state by the University of Wisconsin’s Population Health Institute.

The correlation between health and socioeconomics is unmistakable.

The unemployment rate in 2011 was 7% in Manhattan versus 12% in the Bronx. In Manhattan, 82% of adults aged 22 to 45 have completed some college; in the Bronx, it’s 48%.

In Manhattan, 27% of children live in poverty, compared to 41% in the Bronx.

“In these two examples, the socioeconomic factors are big drivers, but there are lots of other factors as well,” says Bridget Catlin, senior scientist at the Population Health Institute.

“We call it the ‘built environment’, the infrastructure and services that are available to people.”

For example, 97% of people in Manhattan live within half a mile of a park, compared to 77% in the Bronx, and 7% of the Manhattan workforce drives alone to work, compared to 24% in the Bronx.

Thirty-six percent of restaurants in Manhattan are fast-food restaurants, compared to 63% in the Bronx.

Catlin says she hopes community leaders take note of these numbers.

“We have a team who goes through all the studies that have been done, looking at how well various policies and programs work,” says Catlin. “We’re really hoping that people use this to move from data into action, and this gives them a guide.”

Want to see how your county compares? Click here.


soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. drowlord

    causation vs correlation, again. Does poverty cause poor health? Does poor health cause poverty? Or are they both related to some other factor? Personally, I find that my least wealthy friends just don't do anything to improve or maintain their health. Just like they don't do anything about their career, education, or employment.

    March 20, 2013 at 15:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Timmy Suckle

    I kissed my way up to VP at a health insurance company. Now I take over $600,000 of your health care dollars for NO VALUE ADDED to your health care. And that’s just me. Now think about how many other VPs, Directors, Managers, etc. are at my company alone. Now multiply that by thousands of others at hundreds of other health insurance companies. From 10 to 25% of your health care dollars go towards administration that adds NO VALUE to your health care. But my company’s PAC dollars will continue to fool you little people into thinking that a single payer system will be bad. Little people like you are so easy to fool. Little people also don’t realize that a single payer system is the ONLY system that would allow little people (as an entire country) to negotiate better health care prices. Little people don’t realize that the Medical Cartels already know that. And that is the reason why the Medical Cartels spend so much PAC money from the hospitals and doctors lobbying against a single payer system. Some little people say that a single payer system would cost you little people more. But if that were true, then wouldn’t the hospitals and doctors WANT that extra money? Yes they would. So why do the Medical Cartels lobby against a single payer system? It’s because the Medical Cartels know it would allow little people to negotiate better health care prices. And that’s what the Medical Cartels are afraid of. Period.
    But us big wigs at insurance companies, hospitals, and pharmacy companies don’t ever need to worry about health care no matter what it costs. We get our health care paid for one way or another by you little people. And we get the little people that work at our companies to contribute to our PACs. And us big wigs say it’s to protect the little peoples’ jobs. But in reality it would be in the little peoples’ best interest to NOT contribute to the PAC. Again, little people are so easy to be fooled. I won’t ever have to worry about losing my job with so many little people being brain washed by the Medical Cartels’ PAC money. Not only that, the Medical Cartels’ PAC money is used to elect so many republicans that will never allow a single payer system. Republicans have always fought against any meaningful health care reform. But that’s what our Medical Cartels’ PACs pay them for. Politicians can be bought so easily.
    Pretty soon the only people that will be able to afford health care is us big wigs. And that’s the way it should be. We don’t want you little people using up the resources when we need them. And once again, I thank you little people for capping my SS tax at the $113,700 level. Now I only pay 1.2% SS tax and you little people pay 6.2%. Also, thank you for extending my tax breaks. I’m using the extra money on my vacation houses.

    March 20, 2013 at 16:24 | Report abuse | Reply
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    thats why worthless get mugged.

    March 21, 2013 at 00:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. jdoe

    "Catlin says she hopes community leaders take note of these numbers."

    To do what? Make their community wealthier so its people can be healthier? The fact is, wealthier people tend to move into wealthier communities, so disparities will always remain.

    March 21, 2013 at 00:31 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.