HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - How healthy is your county? A recent annual report published by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconson’s Population Health Institute ranks Horry County 16 out of the 46 counties in South Carolina.
The County Health Rankings shows how health is measured in communities throughout the nation. It looks at more than 30 factors, including education, jobs, poverty, influence and how long and well people live. For example, the report shows in Horry County, the high school graduation rate is at 80 percent and 28 percent of children in the community are living in poverty.
This year, the rankings explore how our homes link to our health and the opportunities to be healthy. Experts say a trend happening right now is that communities are facing higher housing costs at a time where people’s incomes aren’t growing and keeping pace.
The report shows in Horry County, the median household income is $46,000 with 15 percent of households spending more than half their income on housing. That means they have less to spend on things like education, healthy foods, or even going to the doctor.
“When people are paying more than half their income towards rent, they have less to invest in other things that can make them healthy," said Dr. Giridhar Mallya, a senior policy officer with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Experts behind the study say they hope this report not only sparks conversation, but also influences further actions to be taken in order to make a difference in the community.
“The foundation of a healthy community is having a job opportunity. So Myrtle Beach certainly is a place where people go for tourism, and that’s a great opportunity to have a good economic base for employment, but you want to make sure those jobs are providing a living wage," said Dr. Pat Remington with the University of Wisconson School of Medicine and Public Health.
They hope these rankings will influence members of the community to come together and build a culture of health.
To learn more about the 2019 County Health Rankings report, click here.