Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey

What is the Household Health Survey?

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey (HHS) is an annual survey conducted by Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC). The survey has been conducted every two to three years since 1983 to offer a window into social determinants of health for the region’s residents.

HHS is the most comprehensive health survey in the region and the largest in the country, covering 7,500 households in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties. The data collected is analyzed at a regional, county and even smaller geographical levels to demonstrate the areas of greatest need. It is a critical resource for assessing health inequities, and for informing responses to address these inequities.

The public health issue: The 2018-2019 survey revealed critical findings regarding vaping, sugar-sweetened beverage consumption, obesity, various chronic conditions, health screening, older adult daily limitations, and prescription pain medications.

Notable Findings

  • Adults misusing prescription pain medication (taking without a prescription) span both suburban (28%) and urban (25%) neighborhoods with marginal differences.
    • 33% of adults have taken a prescription pain medication in the past year. Among these adults, 26% report misusing the prescription pain medication (taking a prescription pain medication without a prescription).
  • There is a gap in care for individuals diagnosed with a mental health condition. More research is needed to understand where and why these gaps exist.
    • 22% of adults have been diagnosed with a mental health condition and 57% of these adults are currently receiving mental health treatment.
  • Obesity levels continue to be habits continue to be key factors in Philadelphia contributing to physical and behavioral health issues.
    • In the SEPA region 3 of 10 adults are obese (29.58%, age-adjusted, percent, ages 18+)
    • Children between 6-11 years of age experienced a slight drop in levels of obesity. In 2015, 30.1% of 6-11-year-olds were obese and in 2018, 28.4% were obese.
  • The repercussions of smoking are well known; unlike the misconception about e-cigarettes not being harmful. With the use of e-cigarettes on the rise these misconceptions must be addressed.
    • Over one in seven adults currently smoke (15%). Among these adults, more than half (50%) tried to quit smoking in the past year.
    • The proportion of adults who used an e-cigarette/vaped in the past month is increasing. In 2018, 8% of adults used an e-cigarette/vaped in the past month. In 2015, 7% of adults used an e-cigarette in the past month.
  • Despite access to insurance on the Health Insurance Marketplace, the cost of a plan can be a barrier to entry for many across the region.
    • The uninsured population is growing. The percentage of uninsured adults (18-64) rose from 9% in 2015 to 11% in 2018.

Our Contribution:

  • Survey Design
  • Data cleaning and coding
  • Data Analysis
  • Data Visualization
  • Membership management
  • Data dissemination

Partners: SSRS

Funders: Public Health Management Corporation