How Healthy is Forest County?

| March 31, 2018

FOREST CO., Pa. (EYT) – A recent report by a national publication ranks thousands of counties across the United States, including those in this region.

(Photo courtesy Pennsylvania Great Outdoors Visitors Bureau)

Healthiest Communities is an interactive destination for consumers and policymakers, developed by U.S. News & World Report in collaboration with the Aetna Foundation.

Backed by in-depth research and accompanied by news and analysis, the site features comprehensive rankings drawn from an examination of nearly 3,000 counties and county equivalents on 80 metrics across 10 categories, informing residents, health care leaders and officials about local policies and practices that drive better health outcomes for all.

Data were gathered and analyzed by the University of Missouri Center for Applied Research and Engagement Systems.

Ratings were from 1 to 100 on 10 major categories, including the health of the population, equity, education, economy, housing, food and nutrition, environment, public safety, community vitality. and infrastructure.

Forest County’s overall rating is 54.9, placing it below the state average of 57.8 and above the national rating of 52.3.

It rated highest in environment, at 83, and in housing, at 68. Its health population rated at 50.

Its lowest ratings were in economy at 33 and education at 40.

County Commissioner Norman Wimer referenced the challenges of the county as well as the benefits.

“We don’t have the access to Interstate 80 to draw in industry, and with so much of the county’s land taken up by the Allegheny National Forest, it’s difficult for school districts, there aren’t enough funding sources,” Wimer said.

“As far as the ANF, it’s a diamond in the rough for us. There are challenges and benefits with it, and we do advocate tourism and the many uses of it.”

Wimer also said the county has worked to improve its wireless and cell coverage.

“We have 4G in just about any community, and we want to do more. While tourists come here to enjoy the outdoors, when they get back to their camps or where they are staying, they want that wireless access.”

Neighboring counties in the region rated similarly with the exception of Butler, which received a 73.4. Elk County was at 59.6, Warren was at 58.3, Mercer at 53.2, Armstrong at 51.9, and Clearfield at 50.7.

To see the entire report, go to www.usnews.com/news/healthiest-communities/pennsylvania/forest-county.


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