How Healthy is Your Community? 2021

About Us

The County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program is a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. We believe America can become a nation where getting healthy, staying healthy, and making sure our children grow up healthy are top priorities. We have a vision of an America where we all strive together to build a national Culture of Health that enables all in our diverse society to lead healthy lives, now and for generations to come.

The goals of the program are to:

  • Build awareness of the multiple factors that influence health
  • Provide a reliable, sustainable source of local data and evidence to communities to help them identify opportunities to improve their health
  • Engage and activate local leaders from many sectors in creating sustainable community change, and
  • Connect & empower community leaders working to improve health.

About County Health Rankings & Roadmaps

The annual County Health Rankings measure vital health factors, including high school graduation rates, obesity, smoking, unemployment, access to healthy foods, the quality of air and water, income inequality, and teen births in nearly every county in America. The annual Rankings provide a revealing snapshot of how health is influenced by where we live, learn, work and play. They provide a starting point for change in communities. That is why we also provide the Roadmaps that provide guidance and tools to understand the data, and strategies that communities can use to move into action. The Roadmaps are helping communities bring people together from all walks of life to look at the many factors that influence health, focus on strategies that we know work, learn from each other, and make changes that will have a lasting impact on health. County Health Rankings & Roadmaps’ work is based on the County Health Rankings model of health, the Take Action cycle, and the CHR&R guiding principles.

County Health Rankings & Roadmaps Guiding Principles

CHR&R supports local communities’ efforts to build health by focusing on the following principles:

  • Harnessing the collective power of leaders from multiple sectors and of community members;
  • Putting health within everyone’s reach by addressing gaps that disproportionately and negatively affect certain populations;
  • Using data, including the Rankings  and additional local data, to identify needs, set priorities and track progress;
  • Using evidence where it exists to guide the work and where evidence is lacking creating new and innovative solutions and evaluating these new efforts along the way;
  • Focusing action on all of the factors that influence health, especially those that contribute the most, such as social and economic factors;
  • Committing to sustainable solutions that focus on systems, policies and environmental changes;
  • Recognizing and building on existing and emerging assets to chart the community’s unique course towards a shared vision of health;
  • Securing and making the most of resources, including fully leveraging human capital and the consideration of health impacts into public and private decision making;
  • Measuring and sharing progress and results widely and using these results to continuously improve progress towards health; and
  • Contributing to a national movement to create a Culture of Health by sharing stories and lessons learned and seeking out opportunities to learn from others.


About the RWJF Culture of Health Prize

In 2013, we introduced the RWJF Roadmaps to Health Prize—now called the RWJF Culture of Health Prize, honoring communities that have placed a priority on the health of their citizens. Some of the communities are urban. Others are rural. Some are affluent. Others have high rates of poverty. But they all have one thing in common: In each of these places community leaders, individuals, business, government and educators have forged powerful partnerships to inspire people to live healthier lives. Our goal is to use this award to bring national attention to the prize winners’ strategies, and inspire other communities to follow suit.

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) is the nation’s largest philanthropy dedicated solely to health. Since 1972, we’ve supported research and programs targeting some of America’s most pressing health issues—from substance abuse to improving access to quality health care. And we have witnessed great progress. But we have also noticed that our nation has worked to improve health by focusing primarily on the health care system—when in fact, our health is influenced significantly by where we live, learn, work and play. At RWJF, we are working to build a national Culture of Health. Our goal is to help raise the health of everyone in the United States to the level that a great nation deserves, by placing well-being at the center of every aspect of life. For more information visit

About the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute

The University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute advances health and well-being for all by developing and evaluating interventions and promoting evidence-based approaches to policy and practice at the local, state, and national levels. The Institute works across the full spectrum of factors that contribute to health. A focal point for health and health care dialogue within the University of Wisconsin-Madison and beyond, and a convener of stakeholders, the Institute promotes an exchange of expertise between those in academia and those in the policy and practice arena.

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