Floyd County ranks 60th out of Georgia’s 159 counties in the 2017 County Health Rankings released today.
Paulding, at No. 10, is the only Northwest Georgia county in the top 10. Whitfield comes in at No. 36, followed by Bartow at 42 and Gordon at 50. Walker, Polk and Chattooga counties rank 80th, 95th and 99th, respectively.
Using more than 30 factors — such as access to health care, exercise, education, jobs and housing — to compare counties within in each state, the report is an annual collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. It includes tools communities can use to zero in on their problems.
“The ‘Rankings’ allow local leaders to clearly see and prioritize the challenges they face,” said Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and CEO of the Johnson Foundation.
“Whether it’s rising premature death rates or the growing drug overdose epidemic … they can bring community leaders and residents together to find solutions,” she said.
The overall outcome factors look at length of life and quality of life — which takes into account low birth weights and the percent of people reporting poor physical or mental health.
Floyd County ranks higher regarding quality-of-life, but its overall score fell due to premature deaths. The report calculates years of potential life lost before age 75 per 100,000 people. That averages 8.6 years locally, compared to 7.3 statewide and 5.2 among the top performers nationally.
The Health Factors section of the report delves into specifics ranging from behaviors and clinical care to social and economic factors and the physical environment.
Floyd County ranked 40th overall in that section — higher than Whitfield, Bartow, Gordon, Walker, Polk and Chattooga — partially because of superior access to medical care. The ratio of residents to primary care physicians is 800 to 1, compared to 1,530 to 1 as a state average and 1,040 to 1 in top-performing communities nationwide.
The violent crime rate also was lower than the state average, but the number of deaths from injuries was significantly higher — 72 per 100,000 compared to 59 per 100,000. The leading causes of injury deaths nationwide in 2014 were poisoning, motor vehicle traffic, falls, suicide and homicide.