Special Report

The Least Healthy County in Each State

Hawaii County, Hawaii
> Pct. without health insurance:
9.9%
> Pct. food insecure: 15.0%
> Obesity rate: 24.5%
> 2013 unemployment rate: 6.8%

Relatively low income in Hawaii County, and relatively poor income distribution compared to the state contributed to its ranking as the least healthy county in Hawaii. About 11% of county residents could not afford to see a doctor compared with 7.4% statewide. Nearly 10% of county residents had no medical insurance. While the share of residents without insurance was far below the national rate of 17.0%, it was the highest of the state’s counties. Just over a quarter of the children in the county lived in poverty compared with 14.4% statewide.

Benewah County, Idaho
> Pct. without health insurance:
21.7%
> Pct. food insecure: 17.7%
> Obesity rate: 27.3%
> 2013 unemployment rate: 10.5%

Poor health habits and the lack of affordable health care contributed to Benewah County’s ranking as the least healthy county in Idaho. In addition to an obesity rate slightly higher than the national rate, about 26.3% of Benewah residents smoked compared with 16.5% of all Idaho residents and 20.0% of all Americans. At the same time, 23.7% of Benewah residents were physically inactive in the past month, a higher proportion than both the state and the nation. More than 21% of Benewah residents could not afford to see a doctor compared with 15.7% statewide.

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Hardin County, Ill.
> Pct. without health insurance:
13.4%
> Pct. food insecure: 14.6%
> Obesity rate: 33.5%
> 2013 unemployment rate: 12.3%

With only two primary care physicians and two dentists for its roughly 4,200 residents, Hardin County was Illinois’ least healthy county. Hardin’s health outcomes were among the worst. Though nearly all of Hardin County residents had access to exercise opportunities, 29.3% did not take advantage, compared with roughly 23% in the entire state. An estimated 9,692 years of life per 100,000 residents are lost annually due to premature death on average, more than 50% greater than the 6,349 years lost in Illinois.

Scott County, Ind.
> Pct. without health insurance:
15.6%
> Pct. food insecure: 15.8%
> Obesity rate: 29.5%
> 2013 unemployment rate: 8.0%

Scarcity of medical professionals and the cost of health care contributed to Scott County’s ranking as the the least healthy county in Indiana. About one in six county residents could not afford to see a doctor. Throughout the state there was one doctor for every 1,518 residents. An estimated 13,579 years of life were lost annually per 100,000 residents due to premature death, well above the state estimate and more than double the number of years lost due to premature death nationally.

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Appanoose County, Iowa
> Pct. without health insurance:
11.8%
> Pct. food insecure: 14.1%
> Obesity rate: 29.5%
> 2013 unemployment rate: 6.4%

About 23% of Appanoose residents rated their health as fair or poor, more than twice the 11.2% of all Iowans and 16.0% of all Americans who gave their health such low grades. County residents also had unhealthy habits with unhealthy consequences. In addition to an obesity rate of 29.5%, higher than the nation’s rate, about 27.6% of county residents smoked — roughly 10 percentage points higher than the state’s rate. About 31.4% of Appanoose County residents were physically inactive compared with 24.3% of the entire state and 23.0% of the nation.