Orange County ranked highly in several health and quality of life categories, but county leaders say this praise doesn't tell the full story.
The 2015 State of the Community report, released in August by the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce, found Orange County to rank among the top counties in social and economic factors.
Stacy Shelp, spokesperson for the Orange County Health Department, said the report can give a false sense of security if it is not looked at holistically.
“Some of the data is outdated, and this can lead to a false sense of security in the county,” Shelp said. “It is also important to know there are significant pockets of poverty within the county.”
Shelp said Orange County has historically ranked at the top of lists for community rankings such as length of life, health behaviors, clinical care and social and economic factors, as well as quality of life and physical environment.
There are a variety of factors that may not seem health related but are, she said.
“Both education and socioeconomic status can be health indicators,” she said. “They factor into the accessibility to healthcare and access to resources.”
Pockets of poverty are a reflection of significant gaps in services and resources within the county, Shelp said.
Ellen Turner, a UNC junior, has lived in Orange County her whole life. She said she is able to see the disparities in well-being between social classes.