Special Report

The Healthiest County in Each State

Cleveland County, Okla.
> Pct. without health insurance:
> Pct. food insecure: 14.6%
> Obesity rate: 29.3%
> 2013 unemployment rate: 4.6%

An estimated 9,121 years of life were lost annually per 100,00 people in Oklahoma due to premature death, the fifth highest amount compared to all states. In Cleveland County, the rate of premature death was much lower with only 6,455 years lost per 100,000 people annually due to premature death. This was only slightly lower than the national estimate, however. A low teen birth rate is frequently tied to both strong socioeconomic factors as well as healthy behaviors. There were just 23.4 births per 1,000 15-19-year old female county residents, less than half the state rate of 53.8 births per 1,000 female teens, which was the fifth highest figure of all states.

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Benton County, Ore.
> Pct. without health insurance:
> Pct. food insecure: 15.8%
> Obesity rate: 20.8%
> 2013 unemployment rate: 5.8%

Benton County had the highest health ranking in Oregon largely due to the high concentrations of primary care physicians and mental health providers in the area. Residents were also well educated. Higher educational attainment rates tend to improve both health knowledge and the likelihood of financial stability, which in turn leads to better health outcomes. More than 80% of adults 25-44 years old had completed at least some college, far higher than both the state and national rates. The area’s obesity rate of less than 21% was also far lower than both the state and national rates.

Centre County, Pa.
> Pct. without health insurance:
> Pct. food insecure: 14.5%
> Obesity rate: 23.9%
> 2013 unemployment rate: 5.6%

Social support networks help foster healthier behaviors and outcomes. The prevalence of single-parent households partly reflects this feature of a community. In Centre County, the healthiest in Pennsylvania, nearly 23% of households were single-parent households, about 10 percentage points lower than both the state and national rates. Area residents also had healthy behaviors. Just 12.2% were smokers, and 18.1% reported physical inactivity in the past month, both some of the lowest rates nationwide.

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Bristol County, R.I.
> Pct. without health insurance:
> Pct. food insecure: 11.8%
> Obesity rate: 20.7%
> 2013 unemployment rate: 8.0%

Nearly 15% of Rhode Island’s population drank water from systems that had at least one health violation, more than double the national share. In Bristol, Rhode Island’s healthiest county, no people were exposed to such health concerns. Bristol residents also had excellent health insurance coverage rates. Only 9.2% of county residents did not have health insurance, lower than the 17% of Americans and nearly 13% of state residents. When asked to rate their own health excellent, very good, good, fair or poor, only 8.7% replied fair or poor, far less than both the state and national shares.

Beaufort County, S.C.
> Pct. without health insurance:
> Pct. food insecure: 13.0%
> Obesity rate: 22.0%
> 2013 unemployment rate: 6.8%

Like South Carolina as a whole, Beaufort County, the healthiest in the state, had relatively weak socioeconomic factors. Area residents still stayed healthy, however. More than 81% of Beaufort County residents lived near a park or exercise facilities, nearly 10 percentage points higher than the state proportion. Perhaps as a result, only 16.5% of residents reported physical inactivity, far lower than both the state and national rates.