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philadelphia-city-hall-night
Credit: Sam Holland

Philadelphia County is the least healthy county in Pennsylvania, according to an annual ranking that compares counties based on health factors such as obesity, smoking, and teen birth rates.

Each year, the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program ranks nearly every county in the United States. Philadelphia County has earned the worst ranking in the state of Pennsylvania, every year since the report was first released in 2011, sitting dead last out of the state's 67 counties.

The county, which encompasses Penn's campus, has a population of over 1.5 million and a land area of 143 square miles, stretching from Philadelphia International Airport in the southwest to the Northeast Philadelphia Airport in the northeast.

Philadelphia County takes the bottom ranking in both health factors and health outcomes in the state. Health factors include higher rates of smoking, excessive drinking, physical inactivity, sexually transmitted diseases, and teen births. Health outcomes refer to Philadelphia residents’ lower life expectancy and worse quality of life.

The counties surrounding Philadelphia ranked very well by comparison. Of the 67 counties in Pennsylvania, Montgomery, Bucks, and Chester counties were the first, second, and third healthiest, and Delaware County ranked 11th.

In October 2018, Philadelphia was ranked the third worst U.S. city for income inequality. Philadelphia was also recently ranked the most stressed city in Pennsylvania, and the 16th most stressed city in the country. 

The rankings program is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a philanthropic organization that funds projects related to health. The University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, which evaluates and promotes government policies that affect health, is also involved in the program.

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