Kansas’ Health and Prosperity Index: 2016

  • November 1, 2016
  • Staff Report

A healthy Kansas economy starts with healthy Kansans. Our state enjoys many advantages when it comes to health – open space, clean air and water, and a good sense of community.

Despite these amenities, however, Kansas finds itself in the middle of the pack when examining the health, economic, and social foundation of the state in comparison to other states in the region. A stable economic underpinning works to promote the health and well-being of all Kansans. In other words, a Kansan’s health involves much more than just healthy living and good choices – a range of factors make an impact. These factors (also known as the social determinants of health) comprise approximately 90% of what determines the health of the state’s population

To determine how Kansas ranks relative to its regional counterparts, the Kansas Center for Economic Growth (KCEG) collected and analyzed a total of 39 indicators divided among the four key areas in the model above. Overall, Kansas ranks right in the middle of the pack when compared to the six other states in the region, which include Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, and Oklahoma.
While being ‘right in the middle’ may not sound so bad, this ranking doesn’t take into account how recent policy choices may impact Kansas’ performance for years to come. Whether it’s unsustainable state tax policy that limits investments in public education or a refusal to expand KanCare to help improve the physical and mental health of Kansans, state policy choices will reverberate through the state for some time.

Though the Health and Prosperity Index (HAPI) is a new endeavor, KCEG will track these indicators over time to determine the impact of current policy choices on future outcomes. For now, the Kansas  API results focus on short-term indicators available today.