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The original item was published from 4/4/2023 12:02:00 PM to 4/4/2023 12:09:57 PM.

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Health Department

Posted on: March 30, 2023

[ARCHIVED] Media Release General Health Information - March 30th, 2023

2023 County Health Rankings

On March 29, 2023, the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute released its 2023 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps (CHR&R) for every county in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The ranking, which is a process funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, helps us to understand what influences life expectancy and life quality. The data used for the rankings includes a variety of measures, such as one’s lifestyle, the level of education, the quality of healthcare, employment, community safety, and the percent of children living in poverty, all of which impact the future health of every community. While it is not perfect, the process uses the same “measuring stick” for all counties, which allows for the identification of what is working well in Rowan and where we can improve opportunities for better health.

This annual process has been in place for over a decade and provides the public health work force with data, evidence, and guidance to visualize the social determinants of health with a broader lens. The process first begins by examining health policies and programs at the local, state, and federal levels and understanding how these policies play an important role in shaping the health of a county. In 2023, County Health Rankings and Roadmaps found that the counties rich with a well-resourced civic infrastructure have higher rates of high school completion, higher household incomes, less income inequality and lower rates of children in poverty and uninsured adults.

The 2023 County Health Rankings looked at a series of factors to measure civic infrastructure and participation in counties including access to parks, school funding adequacy, broadband, voter turnout and self-reported census participation.

Counties are ranked by the health factors and health outcomes, with the top-ranking county earning the

rank of number one and then going in descending order based on the number of counties within one’s

state. Here locally, Rowan County is compared annually to the other 99 counties within our state. This

year, Rowan fell slightly in our rankings and is now ranked 66th in health factors and 64th in health outcomes. Compared to 2022, we have unfortunately moved in the wrong direction by four spots within the health factors category and by three spots in the category of health outcomes.

Although we have a lot to work on as we continue in creating a healthier Rowan County, it is important to remember that we as a community are still healing from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to claiming the lives of nearly 640 community members, COVID-19 also impacted every other aspect livelihood, physically, mentally, economically, and socially. Moving the needle on health outcomes will take all of us to achieve. The effort must come from both private and public sectors breaking down barriers, identifying and bridging the gaps, and empowering each community.

While we must acknowledge the journey ahead for us to improve the health outcomes for Rowan residents, we must also take time to acknowledge our “wins” and appreciate the growth we have achieved since last year’s rankings in these following categories:

  • A decrease in the number of people claiming to have poor physical health days
  • A decrease in the number of people claiming to have poor mental health days
  • Fewer sexually transmitted infections
  • Decreased Physical Inactivity
  • Increase in Access to Exercise Opportunities
  • Increase in High School Completion and High School Graduation
  • Decrease in Unemployment
  • A decreased ratio of the number of patients per dentists, and mental health providers
  • A decrease in the number of children living in a single-parent household

As we continue the work to move closer to the upper half of the county health rankings, the Rowan County Public Health, our community coalition Healthy Rowan, and our community partners are using the Collective Impact Model to address the three priority health areas identified in the most recent 2021 Community Health Needs Assessment. The identified areas were mental health, substance use, and lifestyle behaviors.   Included in the most recent 2022 State of the County Health Report, which was submitted to NCDHHS in early March, Rowan County Public Health also selected Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Injury Prevention, and Child Development as emerging health issues. The selection of these topics can be justified and supported by the data in the County Health Ranking report.

Early identification of health concerns and closely monitoring health trends will allow Rowan County Public Health the ability to respond to health outcomes before they become a priority health concern. The county currently implements a variety of programs such as Healthy Rowan, Rowan Moves, Lifestyle Medicine, the Advancing Health Equity Program, as well as Rowan H.O.P.E. (previously known as P.O.R.T.) to advance the quality of life in Rowan County.


Courtney Meece

(704) 216-8818 


Download 2023 County Health Ranking PR.pdf

2023 County Health Ranking
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