Where you live in California can significantly influence your health, according to the fifth annual County Health Rankings report.
Marin County ranked as the healthiest county in the state, and Lake County as the least healthy.
“Education and income and employment in particular have the greatest impact on health outcomes,” Kate Konkle, associate researcher at the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, told California Healthline.
The report, released late last month, was a project of the institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Researchers ranked each county in California except for Alpine because there wasn’t enough data available for that rural northern county. The list weighs statistics on air pollution, obesity, smoking rates and premature deaths, among others.
You can view the complete rankings, as well as interactive maps.
In addition, the California Environmental Protection Agency released a statewide ranking of census tracts by pollution level this week. The Los Angeles Times compiled this data into an interactive map that you can search by zip code to find the pollution levels in your neighborhood.
As you can see from the maps, California’s poorest neighborhoods and counties often have the worst pollution and health outcomes.
I wrote about this issue earlier this year in an article on fracking, a term for using high-pressured water and chemicals to extract oil from underground rock. Advocates were concerned about the location of an oilfield-waste well that receives fracking fluids from across Southern California. The disposal well is located in a low-income Oxnard neighborhood.
“We’re very concerned that once again hazardous materials are being disposed of in a Latino neighborhood without the residents’ knowledge,” David Rodriguez, state vice president of the League of United Latin American Citizens, said at the Department of Conservation meeting in Ventura. “We believe it would have been handled differently had the site been located in a more affluent community, it’s sad to say.”