• Last modified 615 days ago (Nov. 17, 2022)


County earns mixed grades on health

Staff writer

A new compilation of health statistics released this week by the state give mixed scores to Marion County.

The report, “Healthy Kansans 2030,” by Kansas Department of Health and Environment, ranks counties in five categories, best to worst, across a variety of statistics from a range of sources.

Marion County doesn’t show up in the best group, which could be thought of as receiving a letter grade of “A,” in any category.

But it does rank among the second best, similar to a grade of “B,” in six categories and earns more “B” grades than anything else:


  • Children living in poverty, 12.5% vs. 15% statewide.
  • Childhood immunization rates, 76% vs. 70% statewide.
  • Food insecurity rate, 11% vs. 12% statewide.
  • Life expectancy, 78.3 years vs. 78.5 years statewide. (The statistical oddity of getting a “B” grade despite being below average is because a large number of small counties are below average.)
  • Uninsured adults, 13.7% vs. 13% statewide. (Again, many small counties are significantly below average.)
  • Women starting prenatal care in first trimester, 83.7% vs. 81% statewide.

It ranks in the third-best, or “C,” group in two fewer categories:


  • Low birth weight percentage, 8.0% vs. 7.4% statewide.
  • People per dentist, 3,960 vs. 1,660 statewide.
  • Residents who smoke, 15.7% vs. 16% statewide.
  • Residents with severe housing problems, 10.4% vs. a statewide average of 13% living in homes that were deemed overcrowded or too costly or lacked kitchen or plumbing facilities.

It’s in the fourth-best, or “D,” group in only two categories:


  • Air quality from particulate matter, 7.3 micrograms per cubic meter vs. 7.6 statewide. (Scoring better than the state average but ranking in a below-average group is attributable to many small counties having extremely low particulate rates.)
  • Median household income, $50,816 vs. a statewide average of $59,000.

It ranks in the worst group, an “F” grade, in only one category:


  • People per primary care provider, 5,980 vs. a statewide average of 1,280.

However, numbers in this category are from four years ago, and the number of providers in the county has increased dramatically since then.

In two categories, the report does not use a five-level breakdown.

As do the vast majority of counties in the state, Marion County ranks in the worst of three categories for radon levels in homes.

It also ranks among a minority of counties in which at least one municipal drinking water safety violation was noted in the most recent year for which data were available.

Last modified Nov. 17, 2022