Habersham County ranks in the top 50 healthiest counties in Georgia and the top 5 healthiest in northeast Georgia. The annual County Health Rankings report ranks Habersham 36th out of the state’s 159 counties.
Forsyth County ranks number one.
The County Health Rankings are based on a model of community health that emphasizes the many factors that influence how well and long people live, according to the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps website. The Rankings use more than 30 measures that help communities understand how healthy their residents are today (health outcomes) and what will impact their health in the future (health factors).
Some of the factors considered include medical care, education, transportation, housing, poverty, high school graduation rates, obesity and teen births.
Based on those and other factors, Habersham is the fifth healthiest county in northeast Georgia behind Forsyth (#1), Hall (#14), Dawson (#15), and White (#21).
Habersham ranks above the state average in smoking, excessive drinking, and alcohol-impaired driving deaths but well below the state average in sexually transmitted infections.
Habersham County also has a higher uninsured population than the state average – 19% to 15% – but exhibits much healthier behavior when it comes to some preventive health behaviors. The county is above the state average in flu vaccinations and mammography screenings.
Higher high school graduation rates, lower child poverty rates, and much lower than state average violent crime rates also positively impact Habersham’s overall health ranking.
The rankings report was released Tuesday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.