- MEASURE DETAIL
Economic environment measures the environment in which health is being assessed though several key indicators of economic status. Health is influenced by many factors, one of them being the economic means of the population. Health status is associated with wealth as those with more wealth have greater means to access health care and healthy lifestyles. Five measures are used to gauge the economic environment of a state: median household income, personal income, unemployment rate, underemployment rate, and income disparity.
Underemployment Rate measures the percentage of the civilian labor force that are unemployed, all marginally attached workers, plus those employed part-time for economic reasons. Many suggest that the official unemployment rate does not reflect the full impact of employment on the market. The Bureau of Labor Statistics uses an expanded definition to allow for individuals who are no longer seeking employment, those employed only part-time when they desire full-time work and workers who are only marginally attached, that is persons who currently are “neither working nor looking for work but indicate that they want and are available for a job and have looked for work sometime in the recent past.”
The connection between underemployment and health has been studied far less than that between unemployment and health; however, the existing evidence suggests underemployment is also associated with ill health. Underemployment leads to decreased earning which limits one’s access to health care. Persons who are underemployed are more likely than other individuals to report lower levels of general well-being. Underemployment is also associated with a lack of health insurance.
 Friedland DS. Underemployment: Consequences for the health and well-being of workers. Am J Community Psychol. 2003;32(1/2):33.
 Wooden M. Working time mismatch and subjective well-being. Br J Ind Relat. 2009;47(1):147.
- Total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers (U-6 Definition)
The measures tracked by America's Health Rankings are those actions that can affect the future health of the population. For a state to improve the health of its population, efforts must focus on these measures, these determinants of health.
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