Leon County, Florida
A Community Description
Leon County Health Department Mission:
Prevent Disease, Promote Health
Leon County Health Department Vision:
Healthy People in a Healthy Leon County
Leon County Government Mission Statement:
Leon County Government is dedicated to preserving and enhancing the outstanding quality of life which has made our community a desirable place to live, work and raise our children. Through the provisions of cost effective superior services, County Government will ensure the promotion of orderly growth for the economic health and safety of its citizens. -Tallahassee-Leon County Planning Department 2005 Statistical Digest.
History and Background
Leon County, originally part of Escambia County and later a part of Gadsden County, was created by the Territorial Legislature in 1824. Named for Ponce De Leon, Leon County was one of the most populous and prosperous counties in ante-bellum Florida.
Today, Leon County is a diverse community rich with opportunities in business, education and health care. The capital city of Florida, Tallahassee, the major city of Leon County is home to all levels of government and home to many Associations and their respective membership organizations. One of Tallahassees primary industries is education. Tallahassee is home to two major Universities, a Community College, and branch campuses of private colleges.
The population of Leon County is approximately 245,000 (Leon County Government). The U.S. Census Bureau reported the 2000 population to be 239,452. Population growth in Leon County has been relatively stable over the last few decades (45,608 in the 1970's, 43,838 in the 1980's and 46,959 in the 1990's). Since 2000, population growth has been ahead of historical averages, led by an estimated net increase of 7,461 residents in 2003 and 8,396 in 2004.
More than one-third of the population of Leon County is between the ages of 18 and 34 (second
highest rate in the State behind Alachua County). At 8.4%, Leon County has the second lowest
Percentage of population aged 65 and older (behind Union County, 7.8%). The 55-64 year old age group increased by more than three times the County average annual percentage population growth rate of 2.6% between 2000 and 2004 while the 80+ age group increased slightly more than twice the average annual percentage growth rate for the population of Leon County.
Health Status- 2004 Data
Overall, the health status indicators of the population of Leon County is equivalent to or better than the state and peer counties with a few exceptions. The age adjusted death rate for stroke is high, the case rate of STDs is high and the infant mortality rate is high. The age adjusted death rate from CLRD among whites is high as is the overall cancer rate for whites.
The top five leading causes of death are cancer, heart disease, stroke, chronic lower respiratory disease and diabetes. (Florida Department of Health CHARTS, 2004 3 Year Age Adjusted Death Rates)
Cancer Death Rates
The cancer death rate among the white population is higher than that of the state (195/100,000 vs. 173/100,000). The cancer death rate for the black population in Leon County is lower than the state rate (193/100,000 vs. 205/100,000.
Heart Disease Death Rates
The heart disease death rate for whites is lower than the state 9169/100,000 vs. 199/100,000 and for black the heart disease death rate is also lower than the state black (220/100,000 vs. 266/100,000.
Stroke Death Rates
The stroke death rate for whites is higher than the state white stroke death rate 49/100,000 vs.39/100,000) and the stroke death rate for blacks in Leon County is higher than the state rate (110/100,000 vs. 75/100,000)
Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease- CLRD
The death rate for CLRD for whites is higher than the state (49/1000, 000 vs. 39/100,000). The CLRD death rate for black is much lower than that of blacks for the state14/100,000 vs. 26/100,000.
The diabetes death rate for whites in Leon County is slightly lower than the state rate for whites (17/100,000 vs.18/100,000) and for blacks in Leon County the diabetes death rate is also slightly lower than the state (48/100,000 vs. 50/100,000).
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Leon County has high rates of STDs for all diseases reported including Gonorrhea, Syphilis, and Chlamydia. The 3 year rates per 100,000 put Leon County in the fourth quartile, the quartile with the highest rates in the state.
Vaccine Preventable Diseases
Vaccine preventable disease case rates in Leon County are lower than that of the state.
Infant Mortality, Prenatal Care, and Low Birth Weight
Leon Countys white infant mortality rate is 7.6/1,000 births, higher than the state rate of 5.7 and the black infant mortality rate for Leon County is 16.3 compared to the state black rate of 13.1.
The percent of white births with first trimester prenatal care in Leon County is higher than the state (94% vs. 86) and for blacks in Leon County the percent of births with first trimester care is 83% vs. 76% for the state.
The percent of white births less than 2500 grams in Leon County is lower than the state - 6 vs. the state rate of 7.2.
The percent of black births less than 2500 grams in Leon County is similar to the state percent -13.8 vs. the state rate of 13.0.
Behavioral Risk Factors
The 2002 BRFS data shows an overall good to excellent health status for the population of Leon County. Only 16% of adults report to be current smokers. This rate is lower than the state rate of 22% and much lower than surrounding county population use which can be as high as 35%. A high percent of adults in Leon do receive cancer screenings and cholesterol testing. A lower than state percent report not engaging in moderate, regular or vigorous physical activity. Slightly fewer adults in Leon County are overweight or obese compared to the state.
Leon County's population includes 62.5% non-Hispanic white, 31.0% non-Hispanic black, 3.8% of Hispanic origin and 2.7% of "other" races and ethnicities.
The percent of the total population living in poverty in Leon County is greater than that of the state; 18.2% compared to 12.5%. However, the percent of families living below poverty is 9.4%, similar to the state percent of 9.0. The percent of the population under age 18 living in poverty is also equivalent to the state 16% compared to 17% The unemployment rate for Leon County is higher than the state, 8.3% compared to 5.6%. The unemployment rate in Leon County and the City of Tallahassee declined in both 2003 and 2004. These place of residence figures indicate a slight increase in unemployment in 2004 for residents of unincorporated Leon County. Initial claims for unemployment compensation have declined considerably over the past two years (most notably when compared with an increase for the state as a whole in 2004).
Employment and Income
The median household income of $37,500 is similar to the state median household income of $38,800. The percent of Leon Countys population over age 25 with a high school diploma, 89% is much higher than the state percent of 79. Forty - one percent (41%) of the population 25 years and over in Leon County has attained a bachelor's degree or higher compared to the state rate of 22%.
According to the 2000 Census, Leon County continues to be the employment center for the region. Ninety-five percent of employed Leon County residents work in Leon County. A different situation is evident in the neighboring counties of Gadsden, Wakulla and Jefferson (which along with Leon County comprise the Tallahassee MSA) wherein almost fifty percent of employed residents travel to Leon County for work. In both Wakulla and Jefferson counties, more residents commute to Leon County for work than work in their county of residence. This contrasts to the statewide average of 82.7% of residents who work in their county of residence.
Nearly 65,000 students were enrolled in the fall semester 2004 at the three largest institutions for higher learning in Leon County. Total enrollment at the three schools has more than doubled since 1980.
Leon County public school enrollment continues to grow (up 33% over the twenty year period
1985-2004). The dropout rate has averaged 3.4% over the most recent four school years
compared with 4.3% the preceding four years.
From 2000 to 2004, Leon County experienced a drop in total index crimes (violent crimes and property crimes), down 34% compared with 14% for the state. The index rate for violent crimes in Leon County has dropped 7.7% per year on average since 2000 while property crimes have dropped 8.5% per year on average over the same period.
Recreation and Exercise Opportunities
The Leon County and Tallahassee area offer a wide variety of community resources including arts and music, an extensive pubic library system, parks and recreation facilities including gymnastics and aquatics programs for all ages. Leon County has over 2,800 acres of community parks, boat landings, campgrounds and greenways. There are three branches of the YMCA and a number of other private fitness facilities.
Culture and Arts
In addition to the music, art and theatre offerings from the Universities and the Community College, there are several museums, theatre groups and dance opportunities.
The City of Tallahassee sponsors the following public transportation services:
StarMetro operates city bus routes in Tallahassee, Florida, including campus shuttles at Florida State University and Florida A&M University and Dial-a-Ride service for seniors and disabled citizens and a variety of seasonal transit programs.
Dial-A-Ride provides transportation throughout the city. Night and Sunday service is available.
To use Dial-A-Ride, you must be determined to be disabled within the eligibility guidelines established by the Americans With Disability (ADA), or be a senior citizen 60 years or older.
Medical Services and Emergency Medical Services
There are two hospitals in Leon County, both which serve the entire region including surrounding counties, Tallahassee Memorial Regional Hospital and Tallahassee Community Hospital. There are also numerous providers of diagnostic and primary health care in the Leon County area.
The EMS Division and the Leon County Sheriffs Office have worked cooperatively to improve
EMS dispatch services. The County has upgraded the computer program designed to give pre-arrival instructions in first aid and CPR, as well as provided additional medical training to
dispatchers. In addition, the County has installed an Automatic Vehicle Location system in all EMS Division vehicles. The system identifies which ambulance is closest to an emergency call.
The Computer Aided Dispatch system has also been upgraded to improve functionality further streamlining the dispatch process and improving response times.
The EMS division provides clinical emergency medical services and transport to the citizens and visitors of Leon County. Since the County launched the EMS system in December 2003, the EMS team has provided the highest quality emergency care available. The County continues to enhance this vital service.
Neighborhood and Community Services
The Neighborhood and Community Services Department of the City of Tallahassee provides affordable housing strategies; housing rehabilitation and relocation activities; code enforcement for housing and property violations; human service, neighborhood service, animal service and senior service programs and assistance. Neighborhood and Community Services also manages the Senior Center, the Lincoln and Smith-Williams service centers, and the Animal Service Center.
Leon County government offers citizen participation through advisory groups and committees on over fifty issues affecting quality of life in the county. Issues range from low income housing, environmental protection, growth management, senior issues and bicycle and pedestrian planning to animal control, libraries, tax watch and tourist development. All information about citizens committees is posted on the Leon County government website.
Uninsured Health Care Population
Nearly 8% of the population of Leon County under age 65 or approximately 18,887 people is believed to have no health insurance. This number is expected to double over the next ten years. Listed below is a breakdown of the uninsured target populations. The total target population excludes those over the 200% poverty level and children who are eligible for Healthy Kids Insurance. (ACHA and MGT)
The following summarizes the uninsured target population:
On Dec. 11, 2005 County Commissioners voted unanimously to fund the CareNet Program as Leon County's healthcare delivery system for uninsured residents. CareNet is a public and private sector collaboration (not a health insurance plan) designed to deliver primary healthcare, as well as specialty care services to uninsured residents. The primary purpose of the CareNet Program is to expand access to primary care services for uninsured and working families of Leon County. These services are provided by Neighborhood Health Services, Bond Community Health Center, specialty doctors of the We Care Network (sponsored by the Capital Medical Society), the FAMU College of Pharmacy, Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare, Tallahassee Community Hospital, and the Leon County Health Department.
In addition the We Care Network: a network of 315 volunteer physicians sponsored by physicians of the Capital Medical Society Foundation. The We Care Network works collaboratively with other physicians, the Leon County Health Department (LCHD), Bond Community Health Center (Bond CHC), Neighborhood Health Services (NHS), and both local hospitals, laboratories and many other healthcare providers to coordinate specialty care, surgery, follow-up diagnostics, laboratory work, case management and x-ray requests for patients at and below 100% of the federal poverty level.
Leon County Commissioners Top 7 Priorities for 2006