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Healthy Places Index

How does our community compare with other parts of California? There are several tools that let you dive into that subject. The US Census is a widely-known example. But for ease of use, one of the best tools is the Healthy Places Index, maintained by the Public Health Alliance of Southern California as an online interactive map with content reports that are easy to create. The index is intended to aid in exploring local factors that predict life expectancy and comparing community conditions across the state. It provides relative scores and detailed data keyed to specific conditions that impact public health: economic, social, transportation, housing, education, neighborhood, clean environment and health care access as well as racial and ethnic demography.

The Healthy Places Index was used as a basis for the recent change in Covid-19 vaccine distribution. The Index's lowest quartile of communities - in some 400 zip codes scattered around the state -  were targeted for extra vaccinations to ensure equity and, hopefully, speed up economic reopenings. In our region, 22 such communities were identified, including our very own West Arden Arcade. A census tract there - defined by Howe, Auburn Blvd, Fulton and El Camino - has one of the worst healthy places scores in the state (5.3%). It's in the  targeted 95821 zip code, described by The Bee as:

"95821: This is the northern part of Arden Arcade, where nearly 36,000 people {live}. While parts of this ZIP code are affluent, most are low-income -- in some parts, the median household income is roughly $26,000 and roughly one in three people 18 to 64 years old don't have health insurance."
Alexandra Yoon-Hendricks and Tony Bizjak, "Vaccine Equity Plan Targets Sacramento Neighborhoods" (Sacramento Bee, March 9, 2021)

Let's hope accelerated vaccinations actually DO happen in 95821. But, really, doesn't it speak volumes that ours is one of the designated worst-off places in the state? Isn't it time to change that, particularly given that unincorporated areas generally get neglected? Perhaps use of analytical tools like the Healthy Places Index will lead to improvements in West Arden Arcade and elsewhere in our community.

May contain: map, diagram, plot, and atlas
The Healthy Places Index makes it easy to see that some neighborhoods (green and dark green) are better off than others (blue and dark blue).


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