Health & Science

Harris County Ranks 53rd In Texas For County Health

The high cost of housing means many Harris County residents have to make a tradeoff between paying the rent or mortgage and visiting the doctor.

The Deer Park fire aside, Harris County is becoming a healthier place to live. But a new report shows it trails neighboring counties across Greater Houston.

Harris County ranked 53rd in Texas in a study of county health, conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. That’s up two spots from last year.

Ericka Burroughs-Girardi of the foundation’s County Health Rankings and Roadmaps program, said one of the reasons Harris County isn’t doing better is because of housing costs.

“In Harris County, 15 percent of people are spending more than 50 percent of their income on rent or mortgage,” Burroughs-Girardi said. That means many people regularly have to forgo visiting the doctor or buying healthy food to keep a roof overhead.

Compare that to Fort Bend, which ranks fifth in the state, and Montgomery County, in 11th place.

“In Montgomery and Fort Bend, there are more opportunities for residents living there to make healthier choices,” she said. In both those counties, just 11 percent of residents spend more than half their income on housing.

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Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas delegations in the U.S. House and Senate, as well as the Texas governorship, the state legislature, and county and city governments. Before taking up his current post, Andrew...

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