Special Report

The Healthiest County in Each State

Gallatin County, Mont.
> Pct. without health insurance:
> Pct. food insecure: 13.7%
> Obesity rate: 16.9%
> 2013 unemployment rate: 4.4%

Gallatin County residents, like Montana residents as a whole, reported unhealthy drinking habits. Nearly 45% of driving deaths in the county were alcohol-related versus nearly 47% for Montana — the highest rate of all states. However, Gallatin reported other relatively healthy habits. Less than 17% of area adults were obese and 13.4% were smokers, each far lower than both the state and national rates.

ALSO READ: The States With the Most Deadly Accidents

Boone County, Neb.
> Pct. without health insurance:
> Pct. food insecure: 10.2%
> Obesity rate: 28.4%
> 2013 unemployment rate: 2.8%

Boone County, the healthiest in Nebraska, boasted strong socioeconomic factors. Only 2.8% of the area’s workforce was unemployed compared to 7% nationally. Additionally, less than 16% of households in Boone County were single-parent households, far less than the 33% of households nationwide.

Douglas County, Nev.
> Pct. without health insurance:
> Pct. food insecure: 13.6%
> Obesity rate: 21.9%
> 2013 unemployment rate: 10.5%

Douglas County’s unemployment rate of 10.5% actually exceeded the already quite high state jobless rate of 9.8%, which was the highest of all states in 2013. Still, other socioeconomic measures were strong in the county, and its residents’ health was rated better than in any other Nevada county. While 64% of ninth graders across Nevada graduated high school in four years, for example, 80% of Douglas ninth graders graduated, in line with the national graduation rate. Health evaluations were also better. More than 17% of Nevada residents rated their own health as fair or poor — one of the higher shares — while less than 15% of Douglas residents did so, also lower than the comparable national proportion.

ALSO READ: 12 States That Kill the Most Animals

Rockingham County, N.H.
> Pct. without health insurance:
> Pct. food insecure: 8.8%
> Obesity rate: 25.7%
> 2013 unemployment rate: 5.7%

Rockingham County had the highest health ranking in New Hampshire largely on strong socioeconomic factors. Just over 11% of Rockingham children were eligible for free lunch, far lower than the 21.3% of children across the state who qualified, which itself was nearly the lowest percentage of all states. Rockingham’s child mortality rate was also lower than the New Hampshire rate, which was the lowest state figure nationwide. The county had one of the best high school graduation rates with 90% of ninth graders graduating in four years, higher than the state rate, and 10 percentage points higher than the national rate.

Hunterdon County, N.J.
> Pct. without health insurance:
> Pct. food insecure: 7.1%
> Obesity rate: 20.6%
> 2013 unemployment rate: 5.9%

When asked to rate their own health as excellent, very good, good, fair, or poor, less than 8% of Hunterdon County residents rated their health as fair or poor, far less than the state share of people rating their health as such and roughly half the national figure. Healthy habits and outcomes among area residents also helped make the county the healthiest in the state. Less than 13% of area adults were smokers, and less than 21% were obese, each far less than the respective state and national rates. Financial well-being largely explains the strong health ranking. Just 4.2% of area children lived in poverty, for example, a fraction of the 16.5% and 22% state and national rates.