2024 County Health Rankings Report Areas of Improvement in Virginia

(RICHMOND, Va.) – Earlier this week, the 2024 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps (CHR&R), a program of the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, released data highlighting health factors and measures for counties in Virginia. The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) remains dedicated to its vision of Virginia becoming the healthiest state in the nation, as the data points towards areas of development and opportunities for improvement.

The CHR&R has been an essential source of data, evidence and guidance for over a decade, expanding the nation’s understanding of the multiple factors that shape health. This year’s CHR&R data release provides communities with an up-to-date, localized snapshot of the most recent health data available. Most notably, CHR&R has discontinued ranking counties by their health outcomes, opting instead to provide an indication of how a county fares in relation to other counties in the state and nation. This approach eliminates the idea that one county must outperform another to attain the “top spot,” and instead encourages a collective effort to improve health.

Virginia scores at or above the national average for a majority of the measures, including examples such as the percentage of workers who drive alone to work (71%), access to exercise opportunities (84%), and the unemployment rate among the working-age population in Virginia (2.9%). Health outcomes and metrics are varied from county to county.

“Understanding how a county fares in relation to other counties allows for sharing best practices and innovative initiatives to help address common health challenges and to celebrate successes,” said Chief Deputy Commissioner for Community Health Services Susan Fischer Davis, M.D. “This is an exciting and valuable change that will greatly benefit health districts and citizens across Virginia!”

This year’s CHR&R data release also enables communities in each state to identify opportunities for improvement. In Virginia, areas of improvement include reducing the percent of adults with obesity and reducing the number of drug overdose deaths.

With data on more than 80 measures relevant to health, the CHR&R data offers important context about the community conditions that support good health and advance health equity. In addition to state- and county-level data, the CHR&R program’s What Works for Health database offers more than 400 evidence-informed strategies to help communities improve health. Each strategy is rated for its effectiveness and likely impact on health disparities.

For more information on the 2024 County Health Rankings, visit www.countyhealthrankings.org. For more information on public health resources throughout Virginia, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/local-health-districts.