The Healthiest County in Each State

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Douglas County, Colo.
> Pct. without health insurance:
7.5%
> Pct. food insecure: 9.9%
> Obesity rate: 16.3%
> 2013 unemployment rate: 5.4%

Strong socioeconomic factors helped make Douglas County residents the healthiest in Colorado. Area households with incomes in the bottom 20th percentile earned $51,149 annually, twice what their statewide counterparts earned. With county residents in the 80th percentile earning only about 3.3 times that number, income in Douglas was also fairly well distributed. Douglas residents also had healthy habits. Just 8.3% of Douglas residents were smokers, about half the state’s rate of 16.9%, which was still relatively low compared to the rest of the nation.

Tolland County, Conn.
> Pct. without health insurance:
7.0%
> Pct. food insecure: 10.7%
> Obesity rate: 24.0%
> 2013 unemployment rate: 6.7%

Only 7% of children in Tolland County lived in poverty, a factor that contributed to its top ranking. By contrast, more than 14.5% of children lived in poverty statewide. A low smoking rate among area adults may also have contributed to the county’s first-place health ranking, and helped prolong Tolland residents’ lives. Only 13.8% of area adults in the area smoked, well below the 17.8% of adults who smoked nationally. An estimated 4,371 years of potential life were lost annually per 100,000 people in Tolland due to premature death, lower than the state estimate which itself was the fourth lowest figure compared to all states.

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New Castle County, Del.
> Pct. without health insurance:
9.8%
> Pct. food insecure: 12.0%
> Obesity rate: 25.9%
> 2013 unemployment rate: 6.7%

Access to exercise opportunities contributed to New Castle’s standing as Delaware’s healthiest county. Nearly 98% of county residents had access to places to exercise, much higher than the 88% of state residents who did. However, more than 22% of the area’s population was potentially exposed to poor water systems, well higher than the 13.6% of people who found themselves in similar situations statewide.

St. Johns County, Fla.
> Pct. without health insurance:
14.6%
> Pct. food insecure: 12.7%
> Obesity rate: 23.0%
> 2013 unemployment rate: 5.6%

Unintended pregnancies, which can be the result of risky sexual activity, can have long-term social and economic consequences. There were 36.1 births per 1,000 female 15-19 year old Florida residents, roughly inline with the nation. In St. Johns County, the teen birth rate was less than 20 per 1,000 female teens, reflecting the strong socioeconomic status of the area’s population. Less than 12% of children in St. Johns lived in poverty, far lower than the state’s 24.8% child poverty rate. About 22% of children live in poverty nationwide.

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Forsyth County, Ga.
> Pct. without health insurance:
14.4%
> Pct. food insecure: 8.4%
> Obesity rate: 24.9%
> 2013 unemployment rate: 6.0%

Just as poor socioeconomic conditions across Georgia contributed to poor health outcomes compared to other states, strong socioeconomic conditions in Forsyth County helped make the county the healthiest in the state. While 70% of Georgian ninth graders graduated high school, nearly the lowest percentage in the nation, Forsyth had a high school graduation rate of 88%, far higher than both the state and national figures. An educated populace often has greater financial security. Just 8.4% of people in Forsyth were food insecure, less than half the nearly 19% of people statewide reporting limited access to adequate food. The 15.7% of children in the county eligible for free lunch was also a fraction of the 51.2% of children who qualified across the state.