Special Report

The Least Healthy County in Each State

Pushmataha County, Okla.
> Pct. without health insurance:
> Pct. food insecure: 18.3%
> Obesity rate: 31.7%
> 2013 unemployment rate: 7.6%

Pushmataha County’s obesity rate of nearly 32% was roughly in line with the state’s obesity rate. Both were higher than the national obesity rate. Residents were also far more likely than state residents to smoke, with 38.9% of Pushmataha residents reporting the habit. The county is also one of Oklahoma’s poorer counties, which likely contributed to the challenges of staying healthy. About 18.3% of county households were food insecure, higher than the state percentage, which itself was among the highest compared to states.

Jefferson County, Ore.
> Pct. without health insurance:
> Pct. food insecure: 16.8%
> Obesity rate: 30.4%
> 2013 unemployment rate: 10.7%

As with some other least healthy counties, Jefferson County may rank low within the state, but it fares well compared with the nation as a whole. The percentage of smokers in Jefferson County of 16.7% was lower than the national rate of 20.0% and barely higher than the state’s rate of 16.2%. Similarly, the 17.9% of county residents who were physically inactive was lower than the nation’s rate of 23.0% and not much higher than the statewide rate of 16.1%. It might follow then that just 12.9% of Jefferson County residents considered their health fair or poor compared with 13.8% of the state’s residents and 16.0% of all Americans. Jefferson County, though, lost 9,124 years of potential life due to premature death per 100,000 people, much higher than the comparable state figure of 5,958 years lost.

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Philadelphia County, Pa.
> Pct. without health insurance:
> Pct. food insecure: 22.1%
> Obesity rate: 30.0%
> 2013 unemployment rate: 10.0%

With a premature death rate about 40% higher than the entire state of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia County — which includes the city of Philadelphia — ranked as the least healthy of the Keystone State’s 67 counties. Philadelphia county residents’ relatively unhealthy habits contributed to the poor ranking with higher smoking and obesity rates and a higher rate of physical inactivity than the state’s. The county’s 1,344 cases of Chlamydia per 100,000 residents was by far the highest rate in the state, ahead of second ranked Sullivan County’s 697 cases per 100,000 residents.

Providence County, R.I.
> Pct. without health insurance:
> Pct. food insecure: 16.7%
> Obesity rate: 27.8%
> 2013 unemployment rate: 10.2%

Just as counties in other small states, Providence County’s health data compared relatively well to the nation. But because a county must be the worst in each state, Providence was still the worst in Rhode Island. About 15.4% of Providence residents considered their health fair or poor, less than the national rate of 16.0% but higher than the statewide rate of 13.1%. The county’s smoking rate was greater than the state as a whole but smaller than the nation. And the number of years lost annually to premature death per 100,000 county residents was higher than the state, but lower than the national estimate.

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Marlboro County, S.C.
> Pct. without health insurance:
> Pct. food insecure: 25.8%
> Obesity rate: 39.8%
> 2013 unemployment rate: 12.9%

Almost a quarter of Marlboro County residents could not afford to see any of the county’s eight primary care physicians, far higher than the 16.1% of South Carolina residents who could not afford to see a doctor. About 28.3% of Marlboro County residents considered their health to be fair or poor compared with just 16.2% of state and 16.0% of residents across the nations who graded their health so low.