Martin Espinoza, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
For the second year in a row, Sonoma County’s rank in a key national measure of community health and wellness has declined when compared with other California counties.
According to the 2019 County Health Rankings compiled by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin’s Population Health Institute, Sonoma County dropped to No. 8 in overall health outcomes of its residents among the state’s 58 counties, a slip from No. 7 in 2018 and a high of No. 5 in 2017.
The annual health ranking includes a variety of issues, such as premature death, low birth weight, education attainment, income inequality, smoking, obesity, insurance coverage and violent crime, in an attempt to show how health is influenced by where people live, learn, work and play.
This year’s nationwide health rankings report zeroed in on the burden of high housing costs and the effect on people’s health.
The report found that more than 11 percent of households in the United States spend more than half of their monthly income on housing costs.
In Sonoma County, 24 percent of county residents experience at least one of four problems with housing: overcrowding; high housing costs; inadequate kitchen and plumbing.