Do you live in a healthy area? New report ranks health of NJ’s 21 counties
The adult smoking rate is 23% in Cumberland County. The rate is nearly half that in Somerset and Morris counties.
There's one dentist for every 2,900 residents in Salem County, and one dentist for every 750 people in Bergen County.
In Essex County, there are more than 800 new cases of chlamydia diagnosed each year per 100,000 people, compared to about 176 cases per 100,000 in Hunterdon County.
Health factors and outcomes vary greatly from county to county in the Garden State, and new rankings from the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute reveal the healthiest and least healthy counties for 2022.
"This year's rankings include some COVID data, but we'll truly understand the impact COVID had on our communities in the years to come," said Michael Stevenson, with County Health Rankings & Roadmaps.
Compared to last year's rankings, the top 4 healthiest counties in the Garden State remained the same for 2022. Middlesex was pushed out of the No. 5 spot by Sussex, and moved to No. 6.
The bottom 5 are in the same spot as 2021.
2022 County Health Rankings:
- Cape May
The above rankings relate to two overarching factors: length of life and quality of life.
For example, 25% of adults in Cumberland County self report poor or fair health. The rate is 12% in Morris, Somerset and Hunterdon counties. In Salem County, there are 12,000 years of potential life lost before age 75 due to health behaviors, compared to 7,100 in Ocean County and 4,300 in Bergen County.
“This is wonderful and welcome news, and I think we earned it. The report says Morris County ranked very well on many factors, such as a long life-expectancy, high education levels and opportunities for social associations, while having some of the lowest rates in New Jersey of unemployment, violent crime and child poverty,” said Tayfun Selen, director of the Morris County Board of County Commissioners.
Some factors examined by the report have an obvious impact on one's health, such as obesity rate and access to doctors. But the report also looks at measures that indirectly impact one's chances of living a healthy life, such as a cost of childcare.
According to the report, an average New Jersey family with two children pays 28% of household income on childcare.
"When a single expense consumes the majority of a paycheck ... families are unable to afford other necessities," the report says.