Community Health Assessment
 
Mason County, WA

Purpose

The Community Health Assessment (CHA) is a review of various health data used to illustrate the current health status of a community and monitor its progress over time. It is a critical step in defining the vision for health in Mason County so that we can choose targeted health improvement efforts that affect policies, dismantle health disparities, and promote health in our community. The findings of this assessment will be used to identify the health priorities of focus for the 2022-2026 Mason County Community Health Improvement Plan. 

Health Rankings Model

Annually, the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program of the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute publishes the County Health Rankings. The local data reported in this section is organized by the Health Rankings Model (1). The Health Rankings Model emphasizes the many factors in population health that, if improved, can help make communities healthier places to live, learn, work, and play. In the Health Rankings Model, the current health status of a community is described as health outcomes, which are ranked by rates of mortality (premature death) and morbidity (chronic diseases). These health outcomes are influenced by health factors in a community, ranked by a calculation of various health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic, and physical environment measures. Health Factors represent what will influence the future health of a community, while health outcomes represent how healthy a community is today (1). There are evidence-based policies and programs that a community can implement to improve health factors and, ultimately, improve its health outcomes. These standard measures facilitate comparisons and benchmarking with similar communities and changes over time. Mason County is compared to two neighboring rural counties – Grays Harbor and Lewis – with similar populations, health factors, and health outcomes.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic beginning in January 2020, the data reflected in this assessment are from 2019 and earlier; 2020 data is used for few measures where available. Data will be revised in the subsequent CHA after detailed 2020 data are released. The impacts of the pandemic are unknown; therefore, we can only make assumptions about the anticipated outcomes as a result of the pandemic. COVID-19 will likely have a greater impact on unemployment, children in poverty, income inequality, premature age-adjusted mortality, food insecurity, and severe housing cost burden than is currently reflected in this assessment (1).

According to the Health Rankings, Mason County's health outcomes is ranked in the lower middle range (25%-50%) of counties in Washington. Our community's health factors are ranked among the least healthy counties (lowest 0%-25%) in the state.

Demographics

The 2021 estimated population of Mason County is 65,750 residents (2). Although Mason County is a predominantly white population (83%), 12% identify as Hispanic origin of any race (3). Nine percent (9%) of Mason County residents are biracial or multiracial, 5% are American Indian or Alaska Native, and 1% are Black/African American or Asian (3). 

More than half (53%) of Mason County residents are adults ages 20-64 years (3). Twenty-six percent (26%) of the community are seniors over age 65 and 21% are under the age of 20 (3).

References

(1) County Health Rankings & Roadmaps. University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. www.countyhealthrankings.org 

(2) Office of Financial Management. (30 November 2021). April 1 official population estimates. https://ofm.wa.gov/washington-data-research/population-demographics/population-estimates/april-1-official-population-estimates

(3) Office of Financial Management. (11 January 2022). Estimates of April 1 population by ag, sex, race and Hispanic origin. https://ofm.wa.gov/washington-data-research/population-demographics/population-estimates/estimates-april-1-population-age-sex-race-and-hispanic-origin