Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Bad Days

The 2017 data is out that breaks down each U.S. county by a number of health statistics, so let's play with a little data today and look at one of my favorite categories -- the number of bad mental health days reported per month.

U.S. Bad Mental Health Days

  1. Apache County, Arizona
  2. Menominee County, Wisconsin
  3. East Carroll Parish, Louisiana
  4. McDowell County, West Virginia
  5. Logan County, West Virginia
Georgia Bad Mental Health Days
  1. Clay County
  2. Clarke County (my county, woot!)
  3. Calhoun County
  4. Ben Hill County
  5. Jenkins County
So why is Clarke County so high, at least in Georgia, when it comes to bad mental health days? Two hypotheses come to mind. The first is to blame all those University of Georgia students and their struggles. The second is the lousy demographics of Athens-Clarke, especially poverty numbers. Let's do a quick-and-dirty analysis. Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama, which has a big university in a relatively small town, is nowhere near the top of the list for that state in terms of bad mental health days. It's down in the 50s in terms of rank (Lee County, to be specific). Gainesville, Florida (Alachua County, home of University of Florida) is also nowhere near the top of Florida. So southern college towns don't seem to be all that high by comparison, so then it may be Clarke County's other challenges, mainly poverty rate or other demographics. This seems a more reasonable argument. Without boring you with more analysis, this seems to hold up, at least at first look, at an explanation.

Next time, I'll look at income inequality. As a spoiler, yes, Athens-Clarke is a leader in this. A national leader. As in 13th in the nation (another Georgia county is even higher). It's a weird mix of places that make the top of the list for very different reasons, some college towns, some major cities like NYC.

No comments: