Special Report

The Healthiest County in Each State

The Healthiest Counties

Shelby County, Ala.
> Pct. without health insurance:
> Pct. food insecure: 10.5%
> Obesity rate: 31.5%
> 2013 unemployment rate: 4.4%

Shelby is the healthiest county in Alabama. Unintended pregnancies, which can be the result of risky sexual activity, can have long-term social and economic consequences. There were nearly 47 births per 1,000 15-19 year old female Alabama residents, the 10th highest state figure nationwide. Compared to the state’s rate, Shelby’s teen birth rate of 23.2 births per 1,000 female teens was roughly half. And while more than 27% of children lived in poverty in Alabama — the fifth highest rate of all states — about 11% of children in Shelby lived below the poverty level.

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Juneau Borough, Alaska
> Pct. without health insurance:
> Pct. food insecure: 11.4%
> Obesity rate: 26.9%
> 2013 unemployment rate: 4.6%

Alaskans living in Juneau Borough were the healthiest of all the state’s counties. More than 20% of state residents reported physical inactivity. While this was one of the lower proportions in the country, Juneau residents were even less physically inactive, with less than 16% reporting physical inactivity. As in the healthiest counties in many other states, Juneau residents were also relatively wealthy, even compared to Alaskans overall, who had among the nation’s highest incomes.

Maricopa County, Ariz.
> Pct. without health insurance:
> Pct. food insecure: 15.7%
> Obesity rate: 22.6%
> 2013 unemployment rate: 6.7%

Maricopa is the healthiest county in Arizona. Less than 20% of area adults reported being physically inactive compared with 23% nationally. Physical activity may also have helped keep the area’s obesity rate down. Just 22.6% of Maricopa adults were obese, while 27% of adults nationwide reported being obese.

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Benton County, Ark.
> Pct. without health insurance:
> Pct. food insecure: 14.0%
> Obesity rate: 27.2%
> 2013 unemployment rate: 5.7%

Staying healthy in Benton County is far easier than it is in the rest of Arkansas. Nearly one in five state residents were food insecure, the second highest food insecurity rate. In Benton County, however, just 14% of residents reported such food deprivation. County children were also better off than children across the state. Just over 17% of Benton County children lived in poverty in 2013, not an especially low rate compared to the national rate, but far lower than the 28.3% child poverty rate across Arkansas — the fourth highest of all states.

Marin County, Calif.
> Pct. without health insurance:
> Pct. food insecure: 11.5%
> Obesity rate: 15.8%
> 2013 unemployment rate: 5.0%

Less than 16% of Marin County residents were considered obese, one of the lowest rates in the country. It was far lower than the state’s obesity rate of 22.9%, which itself was nearly the lowest compared to other states. Strong health insurance coverage and a strong job market also contributed to better health among area residents. About 12.3% of Marin County residents did not have health insurance in 2013, lower than the national rate and far lower than the state’s rate of 20%, which was the 10th highest compared to other states. Marin County’s unemployment rate of just 5.0% was also lower than the state’s 8.9% unemployment rate.