ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – St. Johns County has the healthiest residents in Florida for the eighth consecutive year, according to annual rankings compiled by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
The closest local county was Flagler at No. 9, trailed by Clay at No. 16, Nassau at No. 36, Duval at No. 44, Baker at No. 50, Columbia at No. 59, Bradford at No. 64, Putnam at No. 66 and Union dead last.
The foundation, a New Jersey-based nonprofit organization focused on health, bases its rankings on a wide range of factors, including length of life, access to medical care and child poverty rate.
According to RWJF, these rankings can help counties find out what “influences how healthy residents are and how long they will live," and they help communities rally support for health initiatives.
Statewide, 21 percent of children are living in poverty, compared to the national average of 18 percent. Fifteen percent of Floridians under 65 don’t have health insurance, compared to 10 percent nationally.
By comparison, just nine percent of children in St. Johns County are living in poverty and only 10 percent of people under the age of 65 are without access to health insurance.
To put those figures in perspective, 23 percent of children in Duval County are living in homes below the poverty line, while 13 percent of residents here lack health insurance.
Dr. Dawn Allicock, director of the Florida Department of Health in St. Johns County, said these rankings confirm the continued efforts to make the county a healthy place to live, work and grow.
“Community partnerships are leveraged between clinical medicine and population health, to assure conditions for optimal health for people of all ages in St. Johns County," Allicock said.