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Allentown Health Assessments Find Multiple Areas of Need | WDIY Local News

City of Allentown

The Allentown Health Bureau launched their Community Health Needs Project in May of 2023, and after a year of analysis, they’ve released their results.

The report explains findings from four assessments:

  • Community Health Status Assessment - identified priority issues for health and quality of life in Allentown
  • Forces of Change Assessment - identified legislation, technology, and similar factors that affect the community’s public health system
  • Local Public Health System Assessment - analyzes organizations that contribute to public health
  • Community Themes and Strengths Assessment - uses resident input from surveys and focus groups to better understand city issues

Allentown is currently the third largest city in Pennsylvania and is the largest in the Lehigh Valley. Yet, much of the city faces economic struggle, with a citywide poverty rate of 23.3% and a median household income of under $48,000, as reported by the assessment.

This poverty rate is two times higher and the median household income is a third lower than that of Easton and Bethlehem. Additionally, a gap is evident between racial and ethnic groups, with white individuals twice as likely to live in a high-opportunity area than non-white residents – a pronounced disparity considering the city’s status as a majority-minority city.

Three key issues have been identified as top priorities in the Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP):

  • Loneliness and social isolation - associated with increased mortality from cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory illness, mental health challenges, and more
  • Safe, stable, and affordable housing - linked to chronic diseases, injuries, and mental health issues
  • Upward economic mobility - economic disparities and financial insecurity impact health outcomes and lifespan

The full plan will be rolled out this summer and will be made publicly available.
More information on the project and citywide initiatives is available at allentownpa.gov/chna.

James is the News and Public Affairs Director for WDIY. He reports on stories in the Lehigh Valley and across the state which impact the region, along with managing WDIY's volunteers who help create the station's diverse line-up of public affairs programs.
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