Special Report

The Least Healthy County in Each State

Cherokee County, Kan.
> Pct. without health insurance:
> Pct. food insecure: 14.9%
> Obesity rate: 39.1%
> 2013 unemployment rate: 6.1%

An estimated 11,651 years of life were lost annually per 100,000 Cherokee residents, far higher than the state estimate of 6,812. The county’s obesity rate of 39.1% was much higher than the state’s rate of 30.3% and national rate of 27.0%. The state’s smoking rate of 21.4% was also higher than both the state and country rates. More than one-third of county residents were physically inactive compared with 24.1% of all Kansans.

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Clay County, Ky.
> Pct. without health insurance:
> Pct. food insecure: 20.5%
> Obesity rate: 30.5%
> 2013 unemployment rate: 13.4%

About 36.2% of Clay County residents rated their health as fair or poor, compared with 21.1% of state residents who rated their health the same. The percentage of the adult population who smoked — 36.3% — was higher than the state’s smoking rate of 25.6%, which was itself the second highest of all states. There were nine primary care physicians in Clay County, one for every 2,395 residents, compared with one for every 1,551 residents statewide. More than 30% of county residents could not afford to see a doctor, compared with 16.9% statewide.

East Carroll Parish, La.
> Pct. without health insurance:
> Pct. food insecure: 29.8%
> Obesity rate: 42.6%
> 2013 unemployment rate: 14.2%

About 12,741 years of life were lost annually per 100,000 East Carroll Parish residents due to premature death, far higher than the estimated 9,131 years across the state, which was itself the fourth-highest such estimate compared to all states. The county had an HIV prevalence rate of 661.3 per 100,000 residents compared with a statewide rate of 451.7. The area’s teen birth rate of 78.9 births per 1,000 teen girls was far higher than the 50.2 teen birth rate for the state, which was the sixth highest rate compared with all states. A high teen birth rate and high prevalence of HIV both suggest relatively risky sexual behavior, which is strongly associated with unhealthy lifestyles.

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Somerset County, Maine
> Pct. without health insurance:
> Pct. food insecure: 16.7%
> Obesity rate: 33.9%
> 2013 unemployment rate: 9.3%

The teen birth rate in Somerset County was 35.6 births per 1,000 females between the ages of 15 and 19, much higher that the statewide rate of 23.2, but just under the national rate of 36.6. About 25.6% of county residents smoked compared with 18.6% statewide, likely increasing the likelihood of premature death in the area. Residents were far more likely to die before age 75 than residents across both the state and the nation.

Baltimore City County, Md.
> Pct. without health insurance:
> Pct. food insecure: 22.6%
> Obesity rate: 33.6%
> 2013 unemployment rate: 9.6%

Baltimore City County residents had poor health habits, contributing to the county’s rating as the least healthy county in Maryland. The county’s obesity rate of 33.6% relatively high — the statewide rate was 28.4%. Also, the percentage of those who smoked — 23.9% — was higher than the state rate of 15.4%. The percentage of those who were physically inactive was 29.0% compared with 22.9% statewide. As many as 14.3% of county residents could not afford to see a doctor compared with 10.9% statewide.