Public Health in Metro Atlanta: Exploring How Healthy Our Neighborhoods Are

Blog post by Mike Carnathan, Audrey Spiegel
May 2015

Atlanta Regional Commission   (Atlanta)

Is metro Atlanta a healthy place? We explore this topic in the latest Regional Snapshot, and, like most topics we explore, it’s complicated. We found that, based on more general measures, metro Atlanta is a healthy place and is getting healthier, especially compared to the rest of the state. But a couple of predictors of health, like Low Birthweight Births and Diabetes, have actually worsened over the past decade, something we need to monitor over the coming years. Here are some of the other key findings:

  • Public health generally seems to be improving in most counties over the past decade or so, based on analysis of premature deaths. However, there are some notable exceptions.
  • The latest County Health Rankings also show that health is generally improving across metro Atlanta, but again, there are some notable exceptions in mostly the same places.
  • We also took a quick look into the state of cardiovascular disease, as it is the number one public health threat in the U.S. It is also on the decline in metro Atlanta.
  • Not all areas in the public health realm are improvingLow birthweight births and diabetes are outliers in the general improvement of public health in the Atlanta area.
  • Place matters. As suspected, there is a relationship between where one lives and how healthy one is.  Premature death, diabetes, low birthweight births, among others, all are correlated with where poverty levels are the highest in metro Atlanta.
  • Race matters. And there is a relationship between one’s race and how healthy she is.  Both low birthweight births and diabetes discharges are also correlated with race.