NJHA study: Here are N.J.’s most vulnerable ZIP codes when looking at health

The most vulnerable communities in terms of health are centered around New Jersey’s largest cities, according to a new study and database by the New Jersey Hospital Association.

The not-for-profit trade organization said it examined 20 factors including access to health services, chronic conditions, lack of prenatal care, housing, food access, education, income, employment and more to determine the most and lease vulnerable zip codes in the Garden State. Its team then developed a scorecard to aggregate the findings and then indexed the results for the state’s 537 ZIP codes.

The study found Camden’s 08103 ZIP code is the most vulnerable in terms of health challenges, followed by Trenton’s 08608 and Camden’s other 08104. Other large cities, including Newark, Atlantic City and Paterson, rounded out the Top 10.

“While the 10 most vulnerable ZIP codes are centered in New Jersey’s largest cities, communities large and small, urban or rural, are shown to be more vulnerable to poor health even when a single social determinant is stressed,” the study said.

The Top 3 lease vulnerable ZIP codes according to the study were Short Hills’ 07078, New Vernon’s 07976 and Millington’s 07946.

“This type of data analysis helps us begin to understand the unique challenges that threaten health and well-being in our neighborhoods. Poor health can be an indicator of a fundamental need in our communities, whether it’s education, jobs or housing stability,” said NJHA President and CEO Cathy Bennett. “It’s important that we understand those unique challenges so we can begin to target solutions that will lead to a healthier New Jersey.”

Some common trends found among vulnerable communities include a median household income below $39,000; an unemployment rate of 14% or higher; and a greater prevalence of mental health or substance use disorders.

In terms of life expectancy, the database showed a 22-year gap between the lease vulnerable zip code (07976 in New Vernon with a life expectancy of 91.4 years) and the most vulnerable (08608 in Trenton, with a life expectancy of 69.2 years).

Here are the Top 10 most vulnerable zip codes in New Jersey, according to NHJA:

  1. 08103 Camden
  2. 08608 Trenton
  3. 08104 Camden
  4. 08102 Camden
  5. 07102 Newark
  6. 08401 Atlantic City
  7. 07505 Paterson
  8. 07114 Newark
  9. 08105 Camden
  10. 07108 Newark

And the Top 10 least vulnerable:

  1. 07078 Short Hills
  2. 07976 New Vernon
  3. 07946 Millington
  4. 07043 Montclair
  5. 08550 Princeton Junction
  6. 07021 Essex Fells
  7. 07090 Westfield
  8. 07704 Fair Haven
  9. 07928 Chatham
  10. 08502 Belle Mead

To view the database and access the study, click here.