An Annual County-Level Snapshot of What Makes People Healthy or Sick - and Tools to Promote Action to Improve Health

County Health Rankings & Roadmaps

County Health Rankings & Roadmaps compares the health of nearly all of the 3,000+ counties in the United States to others within its own state, and supports coalitions tackling the myriad social, economic, and environmental influences on health.

Dates of Program: January 2009 through March 2018

Description: County Health Rankings & Roadmaps includes three components.

  • County Health Rankings measure a broad set of health outcomes, including physical and mental health and premature mortality. They also examine more than 25 influences on health, including the physical environment, social and economic factors, health behaviors, and access to clinical care.
  • Roadmaps to Health includes Web-based resources and coaching and national partnerships with groups that have strong ties to local affiliates. Two-year Community Grants were awarded to coalitions implementing policy and systems changes in 2011 and 2012. Beginning in 2015, smaller, rapid-response grants will be awarded to catalyze local efforts.
  • The RWJF Culture of Health Prize honors local accomplishments. Six communities won in 2013 and six more in 2014.

The program sends “a clear message about the determinants of health, showing that where we live, learn, work, and play... are really the drivers of health.”—David R. Williams, PhD, Roadmaps National Advisory Committee Member

Key Results

  • Researchers at the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute have published County Health Rankings for all 50 states each year since 2010. A snapshot of each county’s health is available free on the web to anyone (www.countyhealthrankings.org). Some 250,000 people typically visit the website the month after the institute releases the rankings.

“The rankings are jarring...especially in communities where you have some of the best health care facilities but not the best health rankings and health outcomes. That gets you digging into what is really influencing and driving our health.”—Abbey Cofsky, MPH, Senior Program Officer, RWJF

The Roadmaps to Health Action Center provides free resources to help communities become healthier, as well as full-time coaches to support local efforts around the country. Read about the action center in the sidebar at the end of the report.

Thirty state and local coalitions of policymakers, businesses, and educational, community, health, and other nonprofits won two-year $200,000 Community Grants to address social and economic influences on health in 2011 and 2012. Partners have strengthened prekindergarten programs, improved access to fair financial services, built support for paid sick leave, and much more.

Twelve winners of the RWJF Culture of Health Prize (formerly called the Roadmaps to Health Prize), representing large cities and small towns, were honored for their work with $25,000 no-strings-attached awards in 2013 and 2014. The 2014 winners hail from Brownsville, Tex.; Buncombe County, N.C.; Durham County, N.C.; Spokane County, Wash.; Taos Pueblo, N.M.; and Williamson, W.Va. Read about their projects in the sidebar at the end of the report.

Partner grants to United Way Worldwide, the National Business Coalition on Health, and the National Association of Counties enable them to share information and ideas from Rankings & Roadmaps with local affiliates and members. Read about some of these projects in the sidebar at the end of the report.