MILTON — Santa Rosa County ranks 12th of the 67 Florida counties for overall health outcomes, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute’s recently released 2018 County Health Rankings. The county has fallen five spots from No. 7 in 2017, according to this data.
Premature death is up to 6,900 per 100,000 residents, up from 6,500 in 2017. While the number of deaths under age 75 caused by cancer has decreased, the number of deaths from heart disease, accidents, chronic lower respiratory diseases and suicide have all increased.
In 2017, Santa Rosa County ranked fifth for quality of life. According to the report, the county currently ranks 10th due to a rise in reported poor physical and mental health days. Low birth weight has remained the same.
Adult smoking has increased by just one percent, while adult obesity has remained the same. Physical inactivity has increased one percent, and access to exercise opportunities has decreased nearly 10 percent.
Excessive drinking has decreased this year, which also led to a decrease in alcohol-impaired driving deaths in the county.
Sexually transmitted infections rose to 301.1 per 100,000 residents from 245.2 in 2017. The number of teen births in Santa Rosa County dropped from 30 per 1,000 female residents in 2017 to 26.
Santa Rosa County’s number of uninsured residents decreased, while the number of primary care physicians per resident also decreased. In 2018, there were a reported 61 preventable hospital stays per 1,000 population compared to 69 in 2017.
The high school graduation rate remained the same from last year, as well as the percentage of adults with post-secondary education. The unemployment rate fell to 4.5 percent from 4.8 percent in 2017.
The percentage of children in the county who live in a single-parent household rose one percent from 25 percent in 2017 to 26 percent in 2018.
Air pollution; severe housing problems, including overcrowding or high housing costs; and the percentage of the workforce driving to work alone all remained unchanged from the 2017 report. However, the number of workers that commute more than 30 minutes to work each day rose from 42 percent in 2017 to 45 percent.
St. Johns County ranks healthiest in Florida and Union County is the least healthy county in the state.
The report for Florida as a whole reveals that 21 percent of children live in poverty in the state, compared to the U.S. rate of 20 percent. Among racial and ethnic groups in Florida, rates of children in poverty range from 13 percent to 36 percent with American Indian/Alaskan Native children performing the worst and Asian/Pacific Islander children performing the best.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has partnered with the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute to provide this report for the last nine years.