County Health Ranking report: How healthy are Bibb County residents?

Bibb County residents have among the lowest health outcomes in the state, according to a recently released report for 2022 County Health Rankings by the University of Wisconsin’s Population Health Institute.

The county ranked no. 129 of Georgia’s 159 counties for health outcomes, placing it in the lowest quartile in the state. That’s a slight improvement from 2020, when the county ranked no. 131, according to the annual County Health Rankings & Roadmaps reports released in late April.

The health outcome rankings measure length and quality of life and are based on public health data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The leading causes of death for residents under age 75 in Bibb County are heart disease, cancerous tumors, accidents, assaults and chronic lower respiratory diseases, according to the report.

Life expectancy is 73 years old in Bibb County, lower than the state average of 77, according to the report.

The ranking uses “years of potential life lost before age 75 per 100,000 people” as its measure for length of life. The years of potential life lost in Bibb County is 12,100 compared to the state average of 8,000. The value for Black people is 14,500 years compared to 9,700 for white people.

The rate of low birth weights also continues to be a major health issue in Bibb County and Georgia. The county’s low birth weight rate is 14% compared to the state’s 10%. Low birth weight for Black babies is 17%, double the rate of low birth weights for white babies, according to the data.

Hancock County, which ranked the lowest in Georgia for health outcomes and health factors, also has the highest rate of low weight births in the state at 18%, meaning nearly a fifth of the births involve underweight newborns.

Counties with the top five highest health outcomes for residents in Georgia are Forsyth, Oconee, Cherokee, Fayette and Cobb.

Here’s how other counties in Middle Georgia ranked for health outcomes: Baldwin, no. 91; Crawford, no. 98; Houston, no. 25 ; Jones, no. 32; Monroe, no. 59; Peach, no. 104; Twiggs – no. 151.

Health Factors

The report also ranks health factors for each county by measuring certain determinants of health related to behavior such as tobacco use and exercise. Bibb County ranked 89th of 159 for health factors.

One troubling trend noted in the report is the increase in Sexually Transmitted Disease infections here. Bibb County reported newly diagnosed cases of chlamydia, the most common STD in North America, at 1,187 per a population of 100,000, according to 2019 data from the CDC. According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, the state ranked 6th in the nation based on its chlamydia infection rate in 2017.

Another trend noted in the report is an increasing number of children living in poverty. Bibb County reported 37% compared to the state’s 20%. In Bibb County, poverty rates for Black and Hispanic children are 46% and 44% respectively. The poverty rate for Asian children is 5% and 15% for white children.

Other findings of note in the report include:

  • Bibb County has higher rates of adult smoking, at 23%, compared to the state’s 17%.
  • Bibb County has more adult obesity than the state average. The county reported 39% of residents have an obese body mass index compared to the state’s 33%.
  • Bibb County residents have a higher rate of physical inactivity than the state average. The county reported 35% of adults reported no physical activity compared to the state’s average of 27%.
  • Bibb County has more teen births than the state average. The county reported 36 births for every 1,000 females ages 15-19 compared to the state’s 23.
  • Bibb County’s median household income is $44,500 compared to state’s $62,800. The disparity in income by race is clear with Black people averaging $31,000 and white people averaging $56,800.

To contact Civic Journalism Fellow Laura Corley, email [email protected] or call 478-301-5777.