Social Determinants of Health
Washington County, Oregon

Social Determinants of Health

Conditions in the places where people live, learn, work, and play affect a wide range of health risks and outcomes. These conditions are known as Social Determinants of Health (SDOH).

This report presents an overview of the data related to social determinants in. It explores data on unemployment, food insecurity, and education. Communities with inadequate housing, education, employment, or lack of access to healthy food may be at risk of poor health outcomes. Applying research on social determinants can improve well-being for Washington County residents.

By applying what we know about SDOH, we can not only improve individual and population health but also advance health equity

Centers for Disease Control


Understanding the severity and trends of unemployment in Washington County is vital to ensuring the overall well-being of communities. The unemployment rate, reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), is the percent of people in the labor force who are unemployed. The labor force is essentially the pool of currently-available Americans; it excludes people not seeking employment, such as retired seniors and small children. 

Characteristics of Washington County's unemployed population, shown below, are reported by the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS). Unlike the Census, which is an exact count of people and households every ten years, ACS statistics are estimated based on a representative survey sample.

How does the unemployment rate vary?

How does the unemployment rate vary by demographics?

How does the unemployment rate in vary by education?

Food Insecurity

Food insecurity measures the percent of households lacking consistent access to adequate healthy food. Households with extreme food insecurity may face hunger. The map below, based on data from Feeding America: Map the Meal Gap, compares rates of food insecurity across counties.

Educational Attainment

Washington County is also home to several universities and colleges and enjoys one of the highest levels of educational attainment in the state, where over 91% have a high school diploma or GED, and 42% have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Understanding the educational attainment of Washington County’s population can help officials allocate resources and attract certain businesses and industries to the region. The American Community Survey (ACS), conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, publishes detailed estimated on educational attainment in Washington County. Educational attainment refers to the highest grade level or degree that an individual has completed.

How does educational attainment in Washington County compare with Oregon and the US?

What is the highest level of schooling residents have reached in Washington County?

About the Data

Monthly unemployment data is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program.

Characteristics of the unemployed population data is from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS), 5-year estimates, Table S2301.

Food insecurity data are estimates published by Feeding America. Citation: Gundersen, C., A. Dewey, M. Kato, A. Crumbaugh & M. Strayer. The 2017 data is from: "Map the Meal Gap 2019: A Report on County and Congressional District Food Insecurity and County Food Cost in the United States in 2017." Feeding America, 2019. Details about their methodology can be found here.

Educational attainment data is from the American Community Survey (ACS): Educational Attainment: Table S1501; High School and Above: Table B15003; Less than High School: Table B15003.

This report uses the Census Bureau Data API but is not endorsed or certified by the Census Bureau.