It is hard to underestimate the importance of population health assessment: relevant and objective data helps to bridge the gap between policymakers and citizens. In a world where large-scale decisions become overwhelmingly data-driven, health assessment lays a foundation for thoughtful, comprehensive initiatives. The present paper provides scientific findings regarding the health of Florida’s population. Florida is the US southernmost state and one of the most populated. The present paper provides a “snapshot” of Florida’s population with regards to its health status, analyzes scholarly findings, and provides recommendations.
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Population Health Assessment
According to the latest statistical data, Florida’s population amounts to 15.98 million people, 51.2% of whom are women and 48.8% are men. The most populous age groups are the following: 25 to 34 years (2,084,100 or 13.0%); 35 to 44 years (2,485,247 or 15.5%); and 45 to 54 years (2,069,479 or 12.9%). In 2019, the median age in Florida was approximately 38.7 years.
The most prevalent racial groups are White (78%), Black or African American (14.6%), Hispanic (16.8%), and Asian (1.7%). Two-thirds of all households (4.2 million out of 6.37 million) are owned by families; every third household has children under 18 years. Only every second household (50.4%) is a married couple family (“Florida demographic statistics,” n.d.).
In terms of life expectancy, Florida ranks 15th among all US states: its residents live 79.6 years on average (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017). It is a bit older than the average life expectancy countrywide: 78.8. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2017) report that the five leading causes of death in Florida are heart disease, cancer, accidents, chronic lower respiratory diseases, and stroke.
As for social health determinants, one of the daunting issues in Florida is homelessness. As United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (2018) demonstrates, on any given day, 31,030 Florida residents are homeless. What is disheartening is that over the course of the year, as many as 72,400 public school students experienced homelessness at least once.
One more factor that determines health is a person’s category of income. By 2018, the poverty rate in Florida had gone down from 17.1% in 2012 to 13.6%, hitting the lowest point since the Great Depression (Statista, 2018). Another observable improvement is the state’s unemployment rate: as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2019) states, it has been the lowest in years, at 3.2%. The crime rate has also decreased to 3.5%, which is only a bit higher than the national average of 3.4%. However, the violent crime rate is still concerning: 43.6 cases per 10,000 as opposed to the national average of 38.62.
It seems that in comparison to other states, Florida does not raise any serious concerns. For instance, for every leading cause of mortality, the southernmost state rates only from the 23rd to the 38th nationwide. However, the economic status still plays a determining role in public health, with fewer advantages demographics remaining vulnerable and more susceptible to disease. Bauer et al. (2016) conducted an analysis of the most common barriers to healthcare in Florida.
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The researchers discovered a certain inconsistency in regulations and funding policies at federal, state, and local levels. Institutional level barriers such as poor infrastructure and a low number of providers in a certain area challenge the successful administration of screening and treatment services. Community-level barriers are diverse: they range from cultural differences such as poor English language proficiency to fear or deportation. The latter is especially prominent as every fifth resident of Florida is an immigrant.
As Florida Heath reports, the state encourages and promotes community health assessment and health improvement planning. As of now, all 67 counties use a common process for data collection, analysis, and use (Florida Health, 2020). The new policies seek to educate and mobilize communities as well as plan and implement initiatives to enhance public health. A health risk that the state might want to address is heart disease, its underdiagnosis, and neglect. Statistically, 800,000 migrants living in Florida are elderly, and heart disease strongly correlates with age. Therefore, it would only be reasonable to organize community screenings or so-called health fairs for underprivileged communities.
Population health assessment means identifying the needs and problems of a selected population for health promotion. Based on the recent data, it seems that underprivileged communities in Florida are at risk of developing heart disease and not taking timely measures. The proposed solution will not only help with the diagnosis of morbidity but also raise residents’ awareness of health. The findings imply that nurses should be educated on social determinants of health and be able to identify demographic cohorts at a higher risk of disease. The advanced nursing practice would involve developing community-based health initiatives based on a particular population’s needs.
Bauer, S. E., Schumacher, J. R., Hall, A., Marlow, N. M., Friedel, C., …. & Redmon, S. (2016). Disability and physical and communication-related barriers to health care related services among Florida residents: A brief report. Disability and Health Journal, 9(3), 552-556.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017). Stats of the state of Florida. Web.
Florida demographic statistics. (n.d.). Web.
Statista. (2018). Poverty rate in Florida from 2000 to 2018. Web.
United States Interagency Council on Homelessness. (2018). Florida homelessness statistics. Web.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2019). Economy at a glance. Florida. Web.