Community Context and Challenges

  • Despite relatively high rates of employment, 17% of Finney County residents live in poverty; rates of poverty are higher for Hispanic (22%) and black residents (33%) than for white (11%) and Asian residents (8%).

  • More than half (56%) of the county’s public school children qualify for free lunch, compared with 40% of Kansas public school students.

  • Educational attainment is significantly lower than for the state and the nation, with racial/ethnic disparities mirroring those related to income.

  • Finney County fares worse than Kansas on nearly all health indicators, especially access to health care; this coincides with the county’s lower rate of health insurance coverage and shortage of primary care providers.

Community Actions: A First Look

Today, stakeholders across Finney County are working to boost community vitality through improved population health.

Local partnerships and coalitions have emerged to improve the built environment, strengthen social services for immigrants, and connect all residents to resources.

These baseline reports, created in 2016, track community programs and initiatives in their early stages and measure initial progress only. Future reports will provide more in-depth insights and analysis into this community's efforts to build a Culture of Health.

Going Forward: Questions for Consideration

Finney County has dramatically changed over the past four decades due to its growing immigrant population. Today, Hispanic residents make up nearly half of the population and experience significant economic, social, and health disparities. While a number of local initiatives aim to link these residents to services, including health care, English classes, and healthy foods, more work is needed to overcome the significant barriers facing immigrants, especially poverty and a lack of health insurance.

Additional surveillance, data, and information gathering will examine how initiatives to support racially diverse residents affect economic and social inequities and, in turn, the health and well-being of many Finney County residents. Ongoing questions include the following:

  • What challenges do immigrants in Finney County face in acculturating to life in rural southwestern Kansas?
  • To what extent have the efforts to improve health care access been successful in improving health and well-being? What efforts, if any, are underway to increase the supply of health care providers?
  • To what extent are the local government and nonprofit organizations addressing the high teenage pregnancy rate in Finney County?
  • To what extent are various local initiatives communicating and coordinating their efforts?
  • To what extent are local health initiatives tailored to specific racial/ethnic communities?
  • How are local initiatives engaging and empowering residents to improve their economic, social, and health outcomes?