Health Care Act

Charlotte vs. Raleigh: Report says they’re healthier in Wake

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s annual health rankings provide data on all North Carolina counties.
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s annual health rankings provide data on all North Carolina counties. srocco@newsobserver.com

Charlotte and Raleigh both top North Carolina averages on an annual health ranking, but Charlotte doesn’t look so good compared with the state’s second-largest city.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation posted its 2015 county health ratings this week. It reports several measures on each county and allows easy comparisons (here’s how Mecklenburg and Wake stack up).

Wake County tops the state in self-reported health quality, while Mecklenburg is 16th among the state’s 100 counties. Wake residents are more likely to be insured, less likely to die prematurely and less likely to get sexually transmitted infections.

Wake residents are also, on average, more affluent, better educated and less racially diverse than their Mecklenburg counterparts, which may contribute to many of the health trends.

On the other hand, Mecklenburg residents have better access to primary care physicians. But Mecklenburg not only has more homicides and other violent crime than Wake, but topped state averages on those measures.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation also funded another interesting database that went online this week. The Urban Institute rolled out a new website that makes it easy to download data on Affordable Care Act enrollment. It includes state-by-state numbers on 2014 and 2015 enrollment, how many got subsidies and how results compared with projections.

The institute, a nonprofit group that focuses on economic and social policy, had projected that North Carolina would inch up to 383,000 enrolled for 2015, with 254,000 of them getting federal aid to cover premiums. Instead the state ended up with about 560,000 enrolled and 516,000 subsidized.

Only Florida and the District of Columbia outstripped projections by larger margins.

The numbers come from the federal government, and most have been reported previously. But the website offers plain-English explanations and a one-click download of an Excel spreadsheet for those who want to geek out with the data. It will be updated as new information is released, organizers say.

Helms: 704-358-5033;

Twitter: @anndosshelms. This blog post is done in collaboration with Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation.

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