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Palm Beach County Community Health Assessment

Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County


The goal of Community Health Assessment is to identify unmet health needs of community residents and to inform and guide future health planning initiatives to meet those needs. In 2016, the Health Council of Southeast Florida (HCSEF) was enlisted by the Health Care District of Palm Beach County and the Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County to facilitate a comprehensive, county-wide health needs assessment for Palm Beach County.

HCSEF conducted a comprehensive review of secondary data sources to obtain the most reliable and current information for the Community Health Assessment. HCSEF also collected, compiled and analyzed primary data in order to capture the community’s perspective.

This report is organized into four main sections:

  1. Demographic and Socioeconomic Profile
  2. Health Status Profile
  3. Health Resource Availability and Access
  4. Community Perspective

The demographic and socioeconomic profile includes data on many of the key demographic, social and economic indicators, such as population, income, poverty status, educational attainment, employment, housing and transportation.

The health status of the county provides details on various indicators including: maternal and child health (such as prenatal care, birth rates, infant and fetal mortality, child immunization rates); behavioral health; hospital utilization data; and morbidity and mortality trends of chronic diseases, infectious diseases and leading causes of death.

The health resources availability and access profile section presents information pertaining to the obtainability of health care resources in Palm Beach County and includes information on health insurance coverage, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), and medically underserved populations and areas (MUPs/MUAs).

The section titled Community Perspective includes insight gleaned from individuals and organizations in the community.

Below are highlights of each of the four sections.

Demographic and Socioeconomic Profile

  • In 2014, there were 1,359,074 individuals residing in Palm Beach County, representing 7.0% of Florida’s total population.

  • In 2014, over a quarter (25.6%) of Palm Beach County residents were 62 years and over.

  • In 2014, 20% of the population in the county identified as Hispanic or Latino.

  • In 2014, 29.4% of Palm Beach County residents reported speaking a language other than English at home; 43.9% of those individuals were reported to speak English less than “very well.”

  • In 2014, 14.6% of individuals residing in Palm Beach County lived below the poverty level.

  • During the 2014-2015 academic school year, Palm Beach County School District reported 3,750 students as homeless, an increase of 25.4% from the previous school year.

  • During the 2014-2015 academic school year, Palm Beach County had a high school graduation rate of 79.4%, slightly higher than the state’s rate of 77.9%.

  • In 2014, Palm Beach County had an unemployment rate of 10.8%.

Health Status Profile

  • In 2015, Palm Beach County had a rate of 76.3 births to mothers with 1st trimester prenatal care, 3.0 lower than Florida as a whole.

  • Almost a quarter (22.9%) of all births in 2015 received Inadequate or Intermediate Prenatal Care according to the Kotelchuck Index.

  • In 2015, 44.7% of the births were to overweight or obese mothers at the time pregnancy occurred.

  • In 2015, Palm Beach County had a birth rate of 10.8, lower than the rate of Florida as a whole.

  • The infant death rate and fetal death rate in Palm Beach County shows health inequities and disparities between different races and ethnicities.

  • In 2012, in Palm Beach County 38.0% of high school students reported having used alcohol in the past 30 days, 4.1% higher than Florida as a whole.

  • In 2015, the age-adjusted suicide death rate in Palm Beach County was 15.7, slightly higher than the rate in Florida (14.6).

  • During 2014, in Palm Beach County, the rate of hospitalizations from congestive heart failure was 75.5, higher than the rate in Florida by 13.

  • The age-adjusted cancer incidence in Palm Beach County in 2013 was considerable higher in individuals identifying as Black and Other than in individuals identifying as White, 623.2 versus 241.3 respectively.

  • In 2013, 40.2% of adults in Palm Beach County reported being overweight.

  • In 2015, the age-adjusted death rate was 586.7 in Palm Beach County.

  • During 2015, Palm Beach County had a higher rate of deaths from unintentional injuries than the state as a whole, with rates of 51.6 and 46.2 respectively.

Health Resources Availability and Access Profile

  • In Palm Beach County, there are a total of twelve primary care health professional shortage areas, seven dental care health professional shortage areas and four mental health care health professional shortage areas.

  • Palm Beach County has eight populations designated as medically underserved populations.

  • 19.2% of individuals residing in Palm Beach County were uninsured in 2014.

Community Perspective

  • A Local Public Health System Assessment was conducted in 2016 in Palm Beach County.

  • 14 focus groups were conducted in various areas throughout the county. The following sub-groups of the population were recruited: individuals residing in the Glades communities, residents over the age of 65 years, youth, the homeless, individuals with disabilities, and residents that speak a language other than English primarily (Haitian-Creole and Spanish.)

  • A total of 21 interviews were conducted with key informants.


This report was a collaborative effort by community members with the goal of providing residents access to quality health and human services. This community health needs assessment will provide a better understanding of the health needs in the county and will help guide future planning efforts to improve the overall health and quality of life in Palm Beach County. The data collected and presented throughout this assessment will prove to be a valuable asset to the community as a whole moving forward.

View the complete 2016 Palm Beach Community Health Assessment. The Assessment can also be accessed on the Health Council of Southeast Florida’s website.