Two New York boroughs, Manhattan and the Bronx, are separated by just a few stops on the subway. Nonetheless, they are vastly different in key public health measurements.
The Bronx ranks dead last for health among all counties in New York, while Manhattan (also known as New York County) is near the top third. The rankings were based on rates of premature death and health-related quality of life. The list was recently compiled and updated for every county in every state by the University of Wisconsin's Population Health Institute.
The correlation between health and socioeconomics is unmistakable.
The unemployment rate in 2011 was 7 percent in Manhattan versus 12 percent in the Bronx. In Manhattan, 82 percent of adults aged 22 to 45 have completed some college; in the Bronx, it's 48 percent.
In Manhattan, 27 percent of children live in poverty, compared to 41 percent in the Bronx.
"In these two examples, the socioeconomic factors are big drivers, but there are lots of other factors as well," says Bridget Catlin, senior scientist at the Population Health Institute.
"We call it the 'built environment', the infrastructure and services that are available to people."
For example, 97 percent of people in Manhattan live within half a mile of a park, compared to 77 percent in the Bronx, and 7 percent of the Manhattan workforce drives alone to work, compared to 24 percent in the Bronx.
Thirty-six percent of restaurants in Manhattan are fast-food restaurants, compared to 63 percent in the Bronx.
Catlin says she hopes community leaders take note of these numbers.
"We have a team who goes through all the studies that have been done, looking at how well various policies and programs work," says Catlin. "We're really hoping that people use this to move from data into action, and this gives them a guide."
Want to see how your county compares? Visit http://www.countyhealthrankings.org/.