Health News

Which of the Coast counties is the healthiest in Mississippi? Here’s a breakdown.

Good news for the Coast, y’all.

The cities in the three Coastal counties are ranked as some of the healthiest places to live in Mississippi, according to a county-by-county breakdown of health data published by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin’s Population Health Institute through the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps program.

Two of three counties ranked in the top 10.

Spoiler alert: Harrison County is the odd one out, but is still in the top 30 percent, ranked 21 out of 81 counties.

Jackson County is the healthiest county on the Coast, according to the report, and was ranked sixth. Hancock County was ranked seventh.

Here are some of the factors that directly or indirectly helped the counties rank high in Mississippi, according to the data.

  • People live longer.
  • There were fewer poor mental and physical health days by comparison to other counties in the state.
  • There’s a slightly higher than average median income level compared to the state average.
  • There are lower levels of income inequality compared to the rest of the state.

Harrison County has room to improve, said Ericka Burroughs-Girardi, who works for the rankings and roadmaps program.

“In terms of where they are trending … it’s not that bad,” she said.

In Mississippi, the healthiest counties are spread across the state and surrounding metropolitan areas. Rankin County, close to the state capital of Jackson, is ranked at the top.

The top five healthiest counties, in order, are:

  • Rankin
  • Madison
  • DeSoto
  • Lamar
  • Lafayette

The bottom five counties are:

  • Sharkey
  • Coahoma
  • Holmes
  • Jefferson
  • Quitman

One Delta county, Issaquena, is not included in the rankings because it is too small, said Burroughs-Girardi.

Most of the state’s unhealthiest counties are clustered in the Mississippi Delta.

The rankings shown in the map above are for health outcomes, which measures how long people live and how healthy people feel. The group also issues rankings for health factors — areas like education, employment, income, air and water quality, access to medical care and other measures that influence the health of county residents and could indicate future improvements.

Data used in the ranking system comes from the most recent reports from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others, Burroughs-Girardi said.

Details of the full report can be found at www.countyhealthrankings.org. The group also offers policy and program recommendations to address public health issues.

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