Elbert County scores high for health

Shifting demographics help boost numbers in national ranking

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Elbert County was recently ranked as the 99th healthiest community in the United States by U.S. News & World Report. The study ranking was published on June 22 and evaluated 3,000 communities based on 89 metrics in 10 health and health-related categories to determine the top 500 healthiest.
 
The 10 categories were determined by 12 population health experts and took into consideration socioeconomic factors in addition to population health and access to health care.
 
Each category was weighted based on its importance to overall community health. The 10 categories include population health (14.2%), equity (12.23%), education (12.15%), economy (11.1%), housing (9.5%), food and nutrition (8.8%), environment (8.6%), public safety (8.5%), community vitality (7.6%), and infrastructure (7.5%).
 
Within the top 100 communities, Elbert County was ranked among several other Colorado communities including Douglas County (#3), Broomfield County (#9), Pitkin County (#30), Boulder County (#51), Routt County (#53), and San Miguel County (#90). Slightly behind Elbert County are Jefferson County (#109) and Larimer County (#110).
 
Though Elbert County fell in the ranking from its place at #24 in 2021, the community has shown that it can hold its own among more developed communities with higher population density.
 
Elbert County’s high overall health ranking comes in a context of an overall demographic shift during past five to 10 years. New neighborhoods like Gold Creek and Spring Valley Ranch in Elizabeth provide increased housing (affecting affordability, capacity and quality). With those new homes comes higher household income (an economic factor). Increased household income also tends to correlate to higher levels of education and overall health (access to care, health behaviors, mental health and health outcomes). With more communities being built in the Elizabeth area, Elbert County’s ranking in the housing, education, and population health categories could be expected to increase over the next few years.
 
New businesses that make their way to Elbert County help to boost the economic factor with employment opportunities. These impact community vitality (stability and social capital) as well as infrastructure. Given the current plans for the newly developed West Elizabeth area in the coming years, Elbert County’s ranking in the economic category is also likely to increase in the future.
 
“We’re proud to rank so highly as one of the nation’s healthiest counties,” Elbert County Public Health Director Dwayne Smith wrote to the Elbert County News. “The work that everyone across the county does, including our Public Health staff, to promote health and wellbeing across Elbert County benefits all residents.”
 
He added: “Our health and well-being is dependent on many factors, and it takes the entire county working together to create both a healthy environment in which we live and the capacity to provide, access and utilize resources necessary for us to thrive.”
 
To view the USA Today article, please visit usnews.com/news/healthiest-communities/rankings
 
To see the ranking methodology, please visit usnews.com/news/healthiest-communities/articles/methodology
 
For Elbert County census information and statistics, please visit census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/elbertcountycolorado/PST045221
 
Elbert County, Colorado, health, demographics

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