This is a map showing the literal “Heart of Appalachia,” the Central Appalachian Mountain Region that “stands out“ due to the color red representing poor health and the height representing poverty levels. It just so happened to actually make the shape of a heart with this visualization technique.
In other words, this map is colored based on rankings for counties in the US for over 20 health-related metrics including length and quality of life, as well as access to clinics and quality of care. The top 1,000 counties (of ~ 3,000) appear in blue, while the lower are colored red. Some of the specific socio-economic factors pertaining to health also include diet, exercise, substance/alcohol use, sexual activity, insurance, education, employment, income, and the overall environmental quality such as air or water contaminants. The extrusion value is based on poverty rate, represented as the height of each county polygon. Many of the red counties (i.e., poorer health) also have a higher poverty rate.
To learn more about the model, please visit the County Health Rankings website at: http://www.countyhealthrankings.org/explore-health-rankings/what-and-why-we-rank.
Click for link to download html file of this US health map.