In this blog, we showcase a few indicators recently updated.
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Trends Update List
Over 96,000 households in the two counties were estimated to have some form of internet connection, or 91%. The share is up from 71% in less than a decade.
In 2021, nearly 42% of the greater Tri Cities population consisted of people of color. This is up from 31% in 2007. By this measure, diversity is greater here than in Washington and the U.S.
The share of the population who speak a language other than English at home was estimated to be nearly one third in 2021 in Benton and Franklin Counties. This is a much higher rate than in Washington and in the U.S.
The number of degrees awarded by Columbia Basin College & WSU-Tri Cities has climbed in recent years. For the 2020-2021 school year, it stood nearly at 2,000. Associate’s degrees make up the largest number but Bachelor’s degrees have also increased.
While the “usual” leading causes of death declined in 2020 and 2021, covid-19 brought a new leading category. See the comments below on its place in this important indicator.
2021 marked a recent low in the number of two-county residents without health insurance – an estimated 27,200. The rate was nearly as low as in 2014 and 2015, the first two years of the Affordable Care Act.
At an estimated 68% of all households, homeowners are relatively more frequent here than in the U.S. and Washington. That has been the case for the past 15 years as well.
For those households reporting incomes greater than $35,000, the rate of home ownership was about 75% in 2021, higher than both the U.S. and Washington. For those earning less than that amount, the share of households in the two counties was about 40% in the same year – lower than the benchmarks.
The vacancy rate for apartments in Benton & Franklin Counties was estimated at 3.4% in 2021. This was lower than in the state and the U.S.
In PUBLIC SAFETY:
During the pandemic property crime reversed its years-long decline in the two counties. The rate, once lower than the U.S., is now considerably above it. The Washington average is still higher, however.
List Updated 11.14.2022
Blog Feature: Leading Causes of Death in Benton-Franklin Counties
Covid-19 Became the Second-Leading Cause of Death in Franklin County in 2021
In May of 2022, the United States officially surpassed one million reported Covid-19 deaths since the start of the global pandemic. Not surprisingly, in the initial year of 2020, Covid-19 surged to become the third-leading cause of death behind heart disease and cancer for the nation as a whole. However, what might be surprising is the disparate shares of Covid-19 deaths across counties in Washington in the second year of the pandemic - when vaccines were more widely available. Clearly, there were differential impacts of the pandemic across the state, with the Tri-Cities being hit harder.
With the release of 2021 mortality data, it is clear that the share of deaths from Covid-19 in Benton & Franklin Counties exceeded both the state and national averages in the second year of the pandemic. In fact, deaths from Covid-19 were the SECOND-LEADING cause of death in Franklin County in 2021, accounting for over 17% of ALL deaths last year. In Benton County, Covid-19 deaths made up over 13% of all deaths in 2021, exceeding the state average of 8%.
Benton-Franklin Trends 6.1.2 “Share of Deaths by Leading Causes” provides county level data for Benton & Franklin separately as well as combined. Washington State is provided as a benchmark. Compared to the nation, Washington state fared slightly better. In 2020, the first year of the pandemic, deaths from Covid-19 made up 5.2% of all deaths across the state. In the second year of the pandemic (2021), Covid-19 deaths increased to 8% of all deaths that year. Overall, Covid-19 was the third-leading cause of death for 2021, behind cancer and heart disease.
Covid-19 has proven to be deadlier for older residents. Over 90% of all Covid-19 deaths in the combined counties in 2021 were residents aged 45 and above. There were no recorded Covid-related deaths for youths 14 and under. Someone 65 or older in the county was seven times more likely to die from Covid-19 than someone in the 44 or younger age group and twice as likely to die from Covid-19 than the 45-64 age group.
Lest we think the pandemic is over, the Benton Franklin Health District’s Covid-19 Dashboard reported 15 new hospitalizations with Covid-19 for just the week of October 28th through November 3rd. and the combined counties have lost over 700 residents to the virus since the start of the pandemic.