BI differs from Kitsap in health assessment

Bainbridge and North Kitsap students reported higher use of marijuana and alcohol, while adults in BI and NK had the lowest percentage of smokers.

That is according to the recently released 2023 Kitsap Community Health Assessment Summary.

Other interesting statistics show:

-BI students graduate on time most often at 94%, compared with 64% in Bremerton.

-Housing cost burden is 33% in BI, 53% in Bremerton.

-BI has the best prenatal care at 65%, while Bremerton has the lowest at 47%.

-70% go to preschool on BI, compared with 38% in Bremerton.

Here are the findings listed in the executive summary of the report:


In 2022, an estimated 280,717 people lived in Kitsap County, a growth rate of 12%. About 40% of the people are age 50 and older. Kitsap has less racial and ethnic diversity than Washington (72% white compared to 63%). Bremerton is the fastest-growing area, followed by Central Kitsap, South Kitsap, North Kitsap and Bainbridge Island.


Those living in poverty in Kitsap have dropped to about 19%. But homelessness is up to two of every 1,000 people. About 52% of renters spend more than 30% of their monthly income on housing. Fewer people are receiving SNAP benefits. Cost is a barrier to receiving basic needs such as housing, food, reliable transportation and child care.

Median income ranged from $58,854 for American Indian to $90,191 for white community members. About 64% of high school students graduate within four years in Bremerton, compared with 94% in Bainbridge. Of 152 homeless students, 53% graduated on time, compared with 83% who are not homeless. About 11% of youth 18 and younger experienced food insecurity. Black and Hispanic students were 2.6 and 2.3 times more likely to experience food insecurity. About 3.5% students were homeless in Bremerton. Housing cost burden ranged from 33% on BI to 53% in Bremerton.


Access to health care in Kitsap is extremely low compared with the rest of the state: primary care doctors are 63 per 1,000 residents compared to 90, and specialists are 110 per 1,000 compared with 184. About 6% of residents lack health insurance. Complaints include months-long wait times for primary care and mental health services, a lack of Medicaid providers, fear of medical bills.

Among 19- to 34-year-olds, 9% were uninsured, with American Indian 14% uninsured. Many others did not see a doctor in the past year when they wanted to due to costs. Fewer men (65%) saw a doctor compared to women (80%).

Pregnancy and birth

Kitsap has 47% fewer OB/GYN providers per 100,000 residents compared with the state despite having a higher pregnancy rate. Only 52% received adequate prenatal care, compared with 70% statewide. About 54% said they could not get breastfeeding support.

Bainbridge, at 65%, had the best prenatal care, but that still was below the 70% state average, and much better than in Bremerton at 47%. Premature births, low birth weights and infant mortality were higher for Black and Hispanic babies compared with those who are white. Premature births were 9% in Bremerton and 5% in BI.

As they age, only 38% of Bremerton children ages 3-4 attend preschools, compared with 70% in BI.

Mental health

About 47% of high school seniors in Kitsap reported being depressed and 23% considered suicide. The actual suicide rate is 17 deaths per 100,000 residents. Bullying is on the decrease, however. Barriers to getting mental health help included appointment time waits, cost and finding a counselor. Youth who identify as other than heterosexual reported more bullying, depression and suicidal thoughts than other students. Girls also reported more of those issues than boys.

Among adults, more men than women commit suicide, 26 per 100,000 compared with nine. More women, however, are depressed, 33% compared with 18%. Those who identify other than heterosexual also were more depressed, as were those with lower incomes.


There is an increased death rate due to opioids. Fentanyl has replaced heroin as the drug leading to the most hospital visits. Alcohol deaths also increased, with 33% of people using weekly. More students are vaping than smoking cigarettes.

Crime is decreasing, but serious crimes are rising—like murder, robbery, prostitution and arson, along with domestic violence, child abuse and sexual assault. Guns are in the house more often in Kitsap (42%) compared with statewide (32%). About 6.5% have loaded and unlocked firearms.

Comparing the sexes, males had a higher death rate due to alcohol and firearms, while 10th to 12th-grade girls drank and vaped more than boys. Heterosexual students reported lower use of marijuana, cigarettes and vaping. Bainbridge and North Kitsap students reported higher use of marijuana and alcohol, while Bremerton had the lowest. For adults, BI and NK had the lowest percentage of smokers, while Bremerton and SK had the highest.

Communicable disease

There were 54,000 cases of COVID-19 with 3,000 hospitalizations and 400 deaths. The county has from three to 20 influenza deaths a year. Only about 43% of residents get the flu vaccine each year. There are 345 residents in Kitsap with HIV.

Syphilis has risen dramatically from 33 in 2017 to 80 in 2022.

Chronic disease

Heart disease is the second-leading cause of death in Kitsap: 35% have high blood pressure, 34% high cholesterol. About 66% are obese. Cancer is the leading cause of death and premature death since 2000.

For youth, there are more incidents of obesity in Bremerton than BI.


From 2016-20, life expectancy on BI was higher than other areas of Kitsap. Life expectancy is also longer for whites and females.

In 2021, the top five causes of death were: Cancer, heart disease, COVID, accidents and Alzheimer’s. Causes of premature death were: Cancer, accidents, heart disease, COVID and suicide tied with liver disease. The top causes of accidental death were: Poisoning and falls, along with traffic accidents.


The health assessment was done by the Kitsap Public Health District, Virginia Mason Franciscan Health and a partnership team led by Kitsap Community Resources.

It looks at indicators that directly influence health, such as lifestyle factors like diet and activity level. Many other indicators have an indirect impact—they impact health by the resources, resiliency, and stress they give to our lives, and they include employment status, quality of housing, and educational attainment, among many others, the summary says.

Data was obtained using 16 key informant interviews, 10 focus group discussions and two community surveys. Also, analysis was included using 126 health indicators in the county, state and nationwide. Also, a list of community assets was compiled.