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Social & Economic Factors

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s County Health Rankings counts Social and Economic Factors as the most influential of all Health Factors, accounting for 40% of overall Health Outcomes.

Social and Economic Factors is a composite score that includes the following sub measures: education, employment, income, family and social support, and community safety.

It is impossible not to acknowledge the interconnectedness of the Deep Drivers of change through the Social and Economic section of the Health Factors. Each indicator here is naturally tied to one or more indicators used for Education, Jobs, and Quality of Place. A person’s health is directly impacted not only by the choices that they make, but undoubtedly by the circumstances of the environment they live in.

Both income and education (which are also clearly related) are positively correlated with health. More affluent people can afford—among other factors of good health— healthier foods, better medical care, gym memberships, and homes in neighborhoods with fewer environmental insults. In addition, they tend to work at jobs with fewer occupational hazards, and have easier access to groceries and green space. This suggests programs aimed at improving education and workforce and wages will also improve health.

Education, Employment, and Income are explored elsewhere in this report, so in this section we will focus on Family and Social Support and Community Safety.*


Louisville ranks 9th in Social and Economic factors.

Social & Economic Factors



Source: County Health Rankings



Louisville ranks 13 of 17 among our peer cities for Family and Social Support.

Family and Social Support is a composite score consisting of the following two indicators: inadequate social support and children in single-parent households.


Family and Social Support



Source: County Health Rankings


Louisville ranks 11 of 17 among our peers for Community Safety.

The community safety metric focuses not only on violent crime rates, but turns to the rate of injury deaths to contribute to an overall ranking. Other measurements for these sub drivers include: unemployment rate, inadequate social support, children in single parent households, and percent of children living in poverty.

Community Safety Ranking



Source: County Health Rankings


Louisville ranks 10 out of 17 for Children in Poverty

Children in Poverty is the percentage of children under age 18 living in poverty. Poverty status is defined by family; either everyone in the family is in poverty or no one in the family is in poverty. The characteristics of the family used to determine the poverty threshold are: number of people, number of related children under 18, and whether or not the primary householder is over age 65. Family income is then compared to the poverty threshold; if that family’s income is below that threshold, the family is in poverty.

Children in Poverty


Source: County Health Rankings


Louisville ranks 9th for Inadequate Social Support

The social and emotional support measure is based on responses to the question: “How often do you get the social and emotional support you need?” The County Health Rankings reports the percent of the adult population that responds that they “never,” “rarely,” or “sometimes” get the support they need.

Inadequate Social Support



Source: County Health Rankings


Louisville ranks 12 out of 17 for Children in Single-Parent Households

Children in Single-Parent Households is the percentage of children in family households that live in a household headed by a single parent (male or female head of household with no spouse present).

Children in Single-Parent Households



Source: County Health Rankings


Louisville ranks 7th for Violent Crime

Violent Crime is the number of violent crimes reported per 100,000 population. Violent crimes are defined as offenses that involve face-to-face confrontation between the victim and the perpetrator, including homicide, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.

Violent Crime


Source: County Health Rankings


Louisville ranks 8 out of 17 for Injury Deaths

Injury Deaths is the number of deaths from intentional and unintentional injuries per 100,000 population. Deaths included are those with an underlying cause of injury (ICD-10 codes *U01-*U03, V01-Y36, Y85-Y87, Y89).

Injury Deaths



Source: County Health Rankings

*Note that for the rankings here, we use the measures used by County Health Rankings. CHR’s “Education” measure is a composite of “High School Graduation” and “Some College.” We use different education measures in this report, including percentage of adults with a bachelor’s degree. High school graduation rates are not measured consistently across the country (e.g., sometimes using a cohort rate, sometimes using a measure that counts graduates among entering seniors) so we do not list those rankings independently. However, for the purposes of composite health rankings, we used the data endorsed by CHR.

“Income,” as used by CHR is the number of children in poverty. We include a detailed income component in our current report.

“Employment” is a measure of unemployment. Again, we include a more nuanced reporting of employment. _


Robert Wood Johnson Foundation County Health Rankings