News in Brief

The link between health and broadband internet access

Studying the connection between health outcomes, internet adoption and broadband availability became easier when the FCC released a new mapping tool.

Studying the connection between health outcomes, internet adoption and broadband availability became easier as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released its Mapping Broadband Health in America tool.

The map can help policymakers, tech companies and health care providers hone in on areas that lack broadband or have poor health, or both as is often the case. The health data comes from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s County Health Rankings.

The connection between bad health and poor technology is demonstrated in the following examples:

  • Of the 82 Mississippi counties, 71 had internet adoption rates of less than 60% and diabetes rates greater than the national average of 9.3%.
  • Nearly half of Alabama’s 67 counties had broadband rates less than 60% and more than 30% of residents with obesity.
  • Of Oklahoma’s 77 counties, 67 had fewer than 80 primary care doctors per 100,000 residents. And in 67 counties, more than 60% of residents have fixed broadband speeds that are slower than average.

Try the tool to see how your state and county fare.