Columbus, is situated on Georgia’s western border and is home to 198,647 residents, over 20,000 of whom are veterans. The area’s largest employer by far is Fort Benning, followed by TSYS, Aflac, Columbus Regional healthcare System, KIA Motors, St. Francis Hospital, BlueCross BlueShield and Columbus State University, in addition to the local government. The city boasts a significant parks and trail system as well as a vibrant downtown and Riverwalk among other amenities for locals and visitors.

Despite these assets, Columbus has several challenges. As the information below shows, its median income is quite lower than the state’s, and it experiences an elevated poverty rate compared to the state.

 Residents with high school diploma/equivalent or greater Median incomePoverty rateResidents with health insurance of any kind

Continue scrolling to learn how these demographic factors impact residents’ health and wellness. Below are our overall health risk findings and visualization tools (a data dashboard and storymap) to provide in depth analysis of the 500 Cities dataset and community assets.

Columbus Health Risks

Our research shows that, relative to the rest of the country, Columbus' residents are at markedly higher risk for developing diabetes, experiencing respiratory diseases and arthritis.

Overall Health Risks Findings

Columbus has neighborhoods with some of the highest and lowest life expectancy in the State, with a clear north-south divide such that those living on the south side cannot expect to live as long as those on the northern border of the city.

Those living around the intersection of Veterans Parkway and 13th Street as well as residents living around Benning Park have low odds of making it past age 68. Residents on the north side of town can typically expect to live to age 78 or older.


Respiratory Diseases


Columbus Data Dashboard

The dashboard visualizes how the census tracts compare to one another and the country as a whole.

To use, first select "Health Outcomes," "Prevention" or "Unhealthy Behaviors" from the top-right drop-down box, then select the indicator of interest from the second drop-down menu.

Use the percentile rank indicators to see how Columbus' census tracts compare to 500 Cities tracts across the country.

Columbus Storymap

The Storymap tool offers an in depth look at how the high risk diseases play out across Columbus, allows users to see how they compare to different risk factors and allows users to compare and contrast the social determinants of health with the health risks.

This research is based upon work supported by the Urban Institute through funds provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. We thank them for their support but acknowledge that the findings and conclusions presented in this report are those of the author(s) alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Urban Institute or the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.