Special Report

The Healthiest County in Each State

Arlington County, Va.
> Pct. without health insurance:
> Pct. food insecure: 9.4%
> Obesity rate: 17.5%
> 2013 unemployment rate: 3.6%

Arlington County had the highest health ranking in Virginia largely due to a strong food environment and physically active residents. All residents lived reasonably close to a park or recreational facility, and less than 14% of residents were physically inactive, one of the lowest percentages. Partly as a result, the county obesity rate of 17.5% was more than 10 percentage points lower than the state’s obesity rate and one of the lower rates nationwide.

San Juan County, Wash.
> Pct. without health insurance:
> Pct. food insecure: 12.7%
> Obesity rate: 17.5%
> 2013 unemployment rate: 5.9%

As in the healthiest county in most states, San Juan County boasted strong socioeconomic characteristics, which helped lower the incidence of many unhealthy behaviors. The county had a teen birth rate of 12.4 births per 1,000 teenage girls, for example, far less than half the rate for the state, which itself was relatively low compared to the nation. While a relatively high 21.9% of people in San Juan County did not have health insurance, area residents had healthy behaviors. For example, 13.4% were smokers and 17.5% were considered obese, each lower than the respective state rates and among the lower figures nationwide.

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Jefferson County, W.Va.
> Pct. without health insurance:
> Pct. food insecure: 11.4%
> Obesity rate: 31.4%
> 2013 unemployment rate: 4.6%

Similar to the healthiest counties in many other states, Jefferson County’s state-leading health ranking was supported primarily by strong socioeconomic factors. For example, while 26.3% of children across the state lived in poverty — the 10th highest state rate — 14.9% of Jefferson County children lived below the poverty line. In addition, there were just 130 violent crimes per 100,000 county residents, less than half of West Virginia’s violent crime rate of 311.2 per 100,000 state residents. Factors such as these helped raise the quality of life among residents. Less than 16% of residents rated their own health as poor or fair, versus the nation-leading 21.5% of state residents.

Ozaukee County, Wis.
> Pct. without health insurance:
> Pct. food insecure: 8.2%
> Obesity rate: 25.3%
> 2013 unemployment rate: 5.5%

Unintended pregnancies, which can be the result of risky sexual activity, can have long-term social and economic consequences. There were just 6.2 pregnancies per 1,000 female Ozaukee residents 15-19 years old, versus the state figure of 27.5, which itself was among the lower rates in the nation. Area residents also had strong educational attainment rates — more than 81% of adults 25-44 years old had completed at least some college, far higher than both the state and national rates. These factors helped area residents report a relatively high quality of life and improve overall health.

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Teton County, Wyo.
> Pct. without health insurance:
> Pct. food insecure: 12.6%
> Obesity rate: 13.2%
> 2013 unemployment rate: 5.3%

An estimated 7,360 years of life were lost annually due to premature death in Wyoming, one of the highest such figures nationwide. In Teton County, however, residents live longer, healthier lives, with an estimated 3,853 years of life lost per 100,000 people due to premature death. Healthy behaviors largely account for the health of residents. Less than one in 10 area residents were smokers, for example, far lower than both the state and national smoking rates. And just 13.2% were obese, due in part to very good access to exercise facilities — more than 97% lived near locations offering exercise opportunities.