Shelbyville Daily Union

February 14, 2014

Shelby County 'Good place to live'

Valorie Eversole Daily Union Editor
Shelbyville Daily Union

---- — Shelby County ranks 30th out of Illinois’ 102 counties in health rankings according to a nationwide survey

The County Health Ranking Survey uses information from a variety of sources to evaluate the county’s health outcomes. Areas evaluated include mortality, general population health, health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors, population demographics, and health care. This survey is done every five years.

“Shelby County is ranked 30 in the state. It proves this is still a great place to live,” said Shelby County Health Director Steve Melega.

Ranking the health of nearly every county in the nation, the County Health Rankings illustrate what is known when it comes to what’s making people sick or healthy. The County Health Roadmaps show what can be done to create healthier places to live, learn, work and play.

“They survey about 400 people as a pool to represent a county,” Melega said.

The survey compares the county’s figures with the average of the other counties in the state and national benchmarks. In most categories Shelby County falls between the two averages.

On a positive note, the graduation rate for Shelby County is 88 percent, higher than the state’s average of 82 percent. Also the number of children in single-parent households is 19 percent, lower than the states statistic of 31 percent.

Three significant figures on the negative side show both adult obesity and physical inactivity both higher than the state and national averages.

“Cardio-vascular disease is down over the past few years, but diabetes is still a concern in this county,” Melega noted.

Also the motor vehicle crash death rate was higher than state and national averages.

“Shelby County is designated as a health professional shortage area”, Melega said. “We have a limited number of primary care physicians, dentists, and mental health professionals in the county due to most of the county being smaller villages and towns. The main doctors are in Shelbyville and people travel to Decatur, Springfield, Mattoon and Effingham for many of their physicians.”

The median household income in Shelby County is about $46,000 compared with over $53,000 for the state. About 29 percent of children are eligible for free lunch compared to 39 percent in the state and 17 percent of the children are considered living in poverty.

Additional survey statistics may be seen at

“The main thing to remember is that any survey is not an exact science,” Melega said.

Other area counties are ranked as follows: Effingham County - 24th; Cumberland County - 36th; Fayette County - 42nd; Coles County - 55th; Christian County - 81st; Macon County - 86th