Erie County shares many of the health challenges across the nation, such as obesity, use of substances like tobacco and alcohol, and chronic diseases such as hypertension. Yet some of those challenges are being successfully addressed, and Erie County residents have good access to affordable care.

Mortality rates are on the decline due to medical advances and people living longer. Erie County’s mortality rate has declined 9% since 2000, but this is less than the declines at the state and national levels (14% and 16%, respectively). The county’s overall mortality rate of 801 per 100,000 people was a bit higher than the state (768) and nation (733).

Heart disease and cancer are two of the biggest causes of death, and both have declined in Erie. Deaths due the heart disease were down 34% since 2000, in line with the state and nation, and due to cancer, 16%, somewhat less than the state and nation.

Stroke and chronic lower respiratory disease are two lesser causes of death. Erie mortality rate due to stroke fell 40% since 2000, while the CLRD mortality rate has fluctuated. All of these mortality rates were roughly in line with state and national rates.

Hypertension, diabetes and asthma are chronic diseases that can cause early mortality or degrade quality of life. Erie’s rates for these are similar to the state and nation, with 35% of adults in the county diagnosed with hypertension (a bit higher than the state’s 33% and nation’s 31%), 12% diagnosed with diabetes and 9% with asthma. The prevalence of hypertension and asthma in Erie has increased somewhat in recent years, while the diabetes rate has fluctuated.  

Access to affordable care is important to health. In 2017, 7% of Erie County residents were uninsured, down from 14% in 2011. Yet 10% of Erie County residents in 2017 had been unable to afford medical care within the past year. That was also a decrease, from 13% in 2011.

Most people in Erie County have a primary care physician and receive checkups. In 2017, just 11% had no primary physician and 88% had received a check within the last two years. These rates compare favorably with the state and nation and are moving in the right direction.

Being overweight or obese brings major health risks. Erie has similar rates of obesity for adults as the state and nation, but high rates among children. In 2017, 66% of Erie County adults were either overweight or obese, similar to Pennsylvania and the U.S. (both 65%) in 2016, the most recent year for which comparison data were available. The county rate increased by 10 percentage points between 2000 and 2015.

In 2016, the latest year for which data were available, 33% of Erie County students in K-6 were either overweight or obese, and 36% of students in grade 7-12 were.  These are lower than state rates for obesity among children and youth.

Health behaviors play an important role in our well-being. Erie County shares problems related to smoking, drinking and inactivity that plague our nation. In 2017, 18% of Erie County residents were smokers, down from 27% in 2012. Recent declines in smoking haven’t been as strong in Erie as the state and nation.

In 2017, 23% of Erie County residents had been physically inactive in the past month. From 2011 to 2015, the county rate decreased 6 percentage points. In 2017, 19% of adults in Erie County binge drank within the past 30 days, little changed since 2011.

A healthy start in life is important to children’s future success. Erie has some successes and areas to work on in this realm.

Erie’s infant mortality rate was similar to the state and nation at 6.6 per 1,000 live births in 2012-16. The county’s share of babies born with low birth weights, which puts them at risk of health problems and developmental delays, was a bit lower than the state and nation at 3.6% in 2017.

Erie had a lower share of non-smoking pregnancies than the state and nation, with 81% of births in 2016 to women who hadn’t smoked, compared to 89% in Pennsylvania and 93% in the nation. Yet Erie’s rate of early prenatal care was higher, 82%, up 11 points since 2007 and higher than the 77% in the state and nation.

In 2017, 2.1% of teenage girls ages 15 to 19 in Erie County gave birth, slightly higher than the state and nation but down 50% since 2000, a smaller decline than decreases at the state and national level.

Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Establishments Maintaining
Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Employees Increasing
Tourism Spending Maintaining
Median Age Increasing
Population by Age Not Applicable
Population by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Change in Total Population Decreasing
Foreign Born Population Increasing
Household Types Not Applicable
Average Household Size Maintaining
Single-Parent Families Increasing
Median Household Income Maintaining
Public Assistance Maintaining
Change in Average Salary Decreasing
Unemployment Rate Increasing
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Change in Employment by Sector Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty Increasing
People Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Children Living in Poverty Increasing
Children Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty by Education Level Not Applicable
Homeownership Rates Decreasing
Homeownership Rate by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Housing Affordability for Homeowners Maintaining
Median Rent Maintaining
Student Performance in Grade 3 Reading Increasing
Student Performance in Grade 3 Math Increasing
High School Cohort Graduation Rate Maintaining
Per Student Spending Maintaining
Prekindergarten Participation Increasing
Education Level of Adults Not Applicable
Education Levels of Adults, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Air Quality Increasing
Water Quality Maintaining
Recycling Tons Per Capita Maintaining
Solid Waste Per Capita Maintaining
Vehicles by Fuel Type Not Applicable
Mortality Rate Decreasing
Death from Heart Disease Decreasing
Death from Cancer Decreasing
Death from Stroke Decreasing
Death from Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease Increasing
Hypertension Prevalance Increasing
Diabetes Prevalence Increasing
Asthma Increasing
People Without Healthcare Coverage Decreasing
People Without a Primary Care Physician Increasing
Routine Checkups Increasing
People Who Cannot Afford Healthcare Decreasing
Adults Who are Overweight or Obese Increasing
Children Who are Overweight or Obese Increasing
Teens Who are Overweight or Obese Increasing
Adult Smokers Decreasing
Physically Inactive Adults Decreasing
Binge Drinking Maintaining
Infant Mortality Decreasing
Low Birth Weight Babies Not Applicable
Live Births to Teen Mothers Decreasing
Non Smoking During Pregnancy Increasing
Early Prenatal Care Increasing