Consider the following statistical highlights regarding the state of health of the close to one million people who call Bergen County their home:
• Seniors: Seniors comprise over 16% of Bergen’s population; nearly one in three households include at least one adult over the age of 65, a ratio higher than the state and nation.1 58% of seniors who are 65 and older have been diagnosed with high blood pressure and hypertension; 27% have been diagnosed with cancer; and 22% have been diagnosed with diabetes.2
• Children: A stunning one in 34 children in parts of New Jersey – including Bergen County – suffers from Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) according to a recent study.3 New Jersey has one of the highest incidences of individuals reported to suffer from ASD in the nation.
• All Adults: 20% of Bergen County residents report being limited by physical, emotional, or mental health problems with the rate higher among seniors (31%) and those who are lower-income (32%).4 Nearly one in five adults in the U.S. (19%) experience mental illness5 and 6% to 10% suffer from a substance abuse disorder in any given year.6
• Lower-Income Residents: Despite a comparatively high median household income, Bergen County has pockets of poverty with 18% of county households classified as lower-income.7 Many of these residents are disadvantaged and need greater help navigating the complexities of the health care system and the various social services available to assist them.
• Dealing with the Health Care System Is a Problem for Everyone: Nine of every ten Americans are often bewildered when it comes to dealing with the health care system and identifying the right combination of health care practitioners, treatments, and financing they need.8 This includes the well-educated and affluent who comprise a sizable portion of Bergen County’s population.
Renowned management expert Peter Drucker described America’s current health care system as “…the most complex human organization ever devised.”9 All factors considered, the need for more and better health care information to help Bergen County residents has become a public health priority as never before. The Bergen County Care Fair as a new, “all in one place” public service is part of the answer.
1 U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2017
2 Bergen County Community Health Needs Assessment and Improvement Plan (CHIP), 2019
3 Autism New Jersey Report, 2018
4 Bergen County Community Health Needs Assessment and Improvement Plan (CHIP), 2016 and 2019
5 National Alliance on Mental Illness, 2018
6 U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2015
7 Bergen County Community Health Needs Assessment and Improvement Plan (CHIP), 2019
8 Dr. Carolyn Clancy, “Improving Your Health Literacy,” U.S. Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, 2010
9 Frank Tucker, “Navigating the Complexity of Health Care,” www.microhealthllc.com, 2014