Pickens County is ranked as Georgia’s 16th healthiest county, behind #1 Forsyth, #2 Oconee and #3 Cherokee. Gilmer ranked 36th and Dawson 23rd.
The 2018 County Health Rankings, released last week by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation program, showed affluent suburban counties as Georgia’s healthiest.
After Forsyth, which is northeast of Atlanta, the next four are Oconee, Cherokee, Fayette, and Gwinnett counties. They are followed by Columbia, Cobb, Harris, Paulding and Coweta.
The rankings look at education, poverty and obesity, and access to healthcare among other factors that influence how long and how well people live.
Pickens ranks 45th in the state for length of life; 6th for quality of life; 13th in health behaviors; 27th for clinical care; 17th for social and economic factors; and 30th in the state for physical environment.
The report looked at numerous data for their findings, ranging from obesity levels, excessive drinking levels, high school graduation rate, violent crime, housing problems, and a host of other issues.
Pickens had an adult smoking population of 16 percent in 2016, two percent less than the 18 percent statewide. The number of obese adults here in 2014, according to the report’s Centers for Disease Control figures, was 28 percent, two percent better than the state’s 30 percent.
While 65 percent of our population has access to exercise opportunities, a full 28 percent say they are physically inactive and report no leisure-time physical activity. Nationally, 23 percent of the population report no leisure-time activity and 24 percent statewide.
In Pickens, 17 percent of our population reported excessive drinking. The number of alcohol-impaired drinking deaths was five compared to 26 total driving deaths, according to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System figures from 2012-2016 .
Pickens’ teen birth rate is 39 (births per 1,000 females ages 15-19).
The number of medically uninsured - the number of people under age 65 without insurance - here is 3,903, or 16 percent of the population, the same percentage statewide but a full four percentage points above the national percentage.
The report lists 11 primary care physicians, 9 dentists, and 21 mental health providers in Pickens.
The report says 700 people aged 16 or older who are looking for work are unemployed here, equating to 4.9 percent of the 14,344 that are listed as part of our labor force. That figure is the same as the national percentage and 0.5 percent less than the state percentage.
Just under a quarter of Pickens’ children, a full 20 percent, are listed as in poverty and 1,518 children are in single-parent households, according to the American Community Survey, five-year estimates from 2012-2016. In all, 6,216 households are listed total in Pickens.