Thanks to Lobbyist Jim for this article from the News-Herald. It reinforces our statements that the property taxes are pricing seniors and those living on fixed incomes out of their homes. Remember the Housing Affordability Threshold % (HAT%), if your mortgage, utilities and property taxes equal 30% or more of your annual income then your house is deemed un-affordable. Be sure to read the paragraphs at the end of the article….
Counties rank among healthiest
Geauga County and Lake County come in as some of Ohio’s healthiest, according to a new County Health Rankings report
Lake and Geauga counties rank among Ohio’s healthiest, according to the annual County Health Rankings report.
Geauga County ranks third in Ohio for both health outcomes and health factors. Lake County ranked 17th and 12th respectively in those categories.
The report is released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.
According to the report, health outcomes represent how healthy a county is within a state. Health factors represent what influences the health of a county; estimates of the future health of counties compared to others within the state.
In the new report, Lake County fell from last year’s rankings of 13th in health outcomes and 9th in health factors. The Lake County General Health District stated, “an increase in premature death, alcohol-impaired driving deaths, sexually transmitted infections, children living in poverty, and violent crime were largely responsible for the slide in rankings from 2018.”
“While we are disappointed to see a fall in the rankings, increases in premature death, alcohol-impaired driving deaths, and sexually transmitted disease have been on the rise for some time now,” Lake County Health Commissioner Ron Graham said.
Graham added that the results reiterate the importance of prevention-focused public health programing. He also said some caution should be taken when interpreting this data as a current reflection of Lake County’s health. Some of the measurements, which while using the latest figures available, may be three or four years old or otherwise aggregated.
“This is not a new phenomenon, and enhanced timeliness of data is currently the focus of several projects here at the health district,” Graham said.
Positives in the report noted by the health district are reductions in airborne particulate matter and increased physical activity rates, as well as expanded
health insurance coverage, availability of dental services, and mammography screening.
“Health is a moving target, and the health district is constantly pushing to stay a step ahead of emerging health disparities,” Graham said.
“One example of these efforts is the joint community health assessment being conducted by the health district this year on behalf of LCGHD and Lake Health,” he added. “It takes a village, and in this case a county, to ensure that residents are attaining their full health potential, both now and across the lifespan.”
Geauga County ranked fourth in Ohio in length of life and third in quality of life. It ranked second in health behaviors, which considers adult smoking, adult obesity, physical inactivity, sexually transmitted infections and teen births among other factors.
One area where Geauga County fared poorly was physical environment, where it ranked 67th. According to the report, 79 percent of workers drive alone to work, which is below the state average of 83 percent. But of those workers who drive alone, 46 percent drive more than 30 minutes to work, compared to the state average of 30 percent.
Highlighted by researchers in this year’s report is severe housing cost—residents who spend more than half their income on housing. Just shy of half of the Ohio children living in poverty are living in a household that spends more than half of its income on housing, according to the report.
High housing costs make it difficult for families to afford other essential that contribute to good health, such as healthy food, medicine or transportation to work or school, researchers said.
In Ohio, 13 percent of residents spend more than half of their income on housing costs, but researchers said black residents are most burdened by severe housing costs. Almost a quarter (23 percent) of black residents spend more than half their income on housing. For white families it’s 10 percent.
Ten percent of Lake County residents spend more than half their income on housing, according to the data. (emphasis added by LFC)
For Geauga, that figure is 9 percent. Overall Ohio’s county by county severe housing cost burden ranges from 7 to 20 percent of households.
“Our homes are inextricably tied to our health,” Robert Wood Johnson President and CEO Richard Besser said in a statement. “It’s unacceptable that so many individuals and families face barriers to health because of what they have to spend on housing.
“This leaves them with fewer dollars to keep their families healthy. Imagine the stress and pain that come with unplanned moves. We are all healthier and stronger together when everyone has access to safe and affordable housing, regardless of the color of their skin or how much money they make.”
(LFC Comment: If we keep passing property tax levies, these statistics will only get worse for everyone. If we assume that there are 230,000 people in Lake County, then that means that there are ~23,000 residents paying more that 50% of their income on housing! So how many are paying at least 30% of their income on housing? Our research has shown 27% of seniors that own a home and 53.5% that rent pay more than 30% of their income on housing.)