Health: Summary & Data Highlights

  • In King County, several key measures of the public’s health are improving.
  • But many communities—whether defined by race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, household income, place, or a combination—are not getting an equitable share of this increased potential for better and longer lives.

Disparities include (but are not limited to):

  • Smoking: Smoking rates in adults and teens have declined year after year. But in South King County, the decline in adults has stalled. Smoking in adults is higher for American Indian/Alaska Natives (AI/AN), Black/African Americans, people identifying as lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB), and in low income households. Smoking is also higher for AIAN and LGB teens.

  • Obesity: The increase in adult obesity has ended. However, adult rates in South King County are elevated, and obesity in teens increased there even as Seattle rates have fallen.  Obesity rates were higher in Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic/Latino and Black/African American teens. American Indian/Alaska Native and Black adults also had higher rates.

  • Health insurance: The Affordable Care Act slashed lack of health insurance in working-age adults. Racial/ethnic disparities were also reduced. However, lack of insurance is still over 3 times more common in Hispanic/Latinos and American Indian/Alaska Natives than the county as a whole.

  • Infant mortality: A steady decline in infant mortality rates has continued and reached new lows. But babies born to American Indian/Alaska Native (AIAN) and Black/African American mothers have twice the risk or more as the county average. Rates like these for the county as a whole have not been seen for decades. Specifically, current rates for AIAN and Black infants have not been seen for the county as a whole since before 1990, underlining persistent disparities that affect these communities.

  • Adolescent birth: The adolescent birth rate has dropped by more than half in 10 years, falling across the board. But rates are almost 4 times higher for Hispanic/Latinas, and rates for American Indian/Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders and Black/African Americans exceed the county average. Adolescent birth rates in neighborhoods with the highest poverty rates were more than 11 times higher than for neighborhoods with the lowest poverty levels.

See the links on the left for more information on all Communities Count health indicators.