Report ranks Dallas County as the healthiest county in Iowa
Dallas County is the healthiest county in Iowa, and Montgomery County is the least healthy, according to the annual County Health Rankings report.
The report, which is produced by the University of Wisconsin Institute of Population Health, considers factors like access to food, child poverty rates and high school graduation rates to rank counties from the most to least healthy.
Rankings are localized so each community can figure out where it could improve, said Michael Stevenson, the evidence and policy analysis team leader at the University of Wisconsin Institute of Population Health, which creates the report.
"Even counties that may be ranked number one, two or three," he said, "There's still things that we can do to improve the health of those communities."
This year the report added the burden of childcare costs to its rankings, Stevenson said.
"We know that affordable, accessible childcare is really vital to building healthy communities," he said. "It's not only is good for children, and helping them develop skills for a healthier future, but it also allows parents to participate in the workforce, which we know can improve our health."
It found Iowans with two children spend on average 24 percent of their income on childcare.
The report found Iowa’s Black families are disproportionately burdened with this cost, Stevenson said.
"Black families in Iowa are making, on average, just a little over $33,000 a year, compared to the white families, who are making almost $64,000 per year," he said.
Stevenson said aid like childcare subsidies can help families offset the cost.