Social Determinants of Health

The Social Determinants of Health are best described as those things that happen in non-clinical settings—home, school, work, play—that affect 80 percent of a person’s overall health. They include things like homelessness, poverty, and food insecurity

 

POVERTY

The unemployment rate for Benton and Franklin Counties is 5.5 percent, a full percentage point higher than Washington State. Elderly adults in Franklin County are more likely to live in poverty than the state average, while 6 percent of children are receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

 

In Benton County 16 percent of families are living at or below the federal poverty level. In Franklin County, the number grows to 19 percent. Both are above the State average of 13 percent.

 

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HOMELESSNESS

The annual Point-In-Time count of homeless people has shown a decreased number of people living on the street over the past few years. That comes as a surprise to those who live or work near areas where homeless people gather and to formal and informal shelter managers.

 

State surveys show that 11 percent of 8th and 10th graders liver somewhere other than their parents’ home. It’s 16 percent for LGBTQ+ youth. My Friend’s Place Youth Homeless Shelter reported more than more than 300 drop-ins in 2018. 88 drop-ins accounted for 316 overnight stays. My Friend’s Place operates at 100 percent capacity nearly year-around.

 

FOOD INSECURITY

Well over half (58%) of the area’s 59,700 students are enrolled in free or reduced lunch in the bi-county region. For many of those kids, that’s the only real meal they will receive that day. It is hard to fathom but 9 percent of the residents of Benton and Franklin Counties live in a “food desert,” defined as being more than a mile from a source of fresh fruits and vegetables and with limited transportation.

 

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