Special Report

The Least Healthy City in Every State

46. Winchester, Virginia
> Pct. without health insurance:
13.9%
> Pct. food insecure: N/A
> Obesity rate: N/A
> 2014 unemployment rate: 4.9%

In Winchester, an estimated 8,596 years are lost to preventable deaths per 100,000 residents annually, well above the incidence of premature death across Virginia. Less than optimal living conditions may have contributed to the high occurrences of death before age 75. More than 43% of children lived in a single parent household, and nearly a quarter of all Winchester children lived in poverty. Childhood poverty is only part of the problem in Winchester. More than 28% of area adults reported less than optimal health, a significantly higher share than the corresponding statewide figure of 13.5%. Additionally, parks and recreational facilities in the metro area are scarce. Only 19.1% of the population had adequate access to locations for physical activity, a much smaller proportion than the 81.5% of West Virginia residents and 85.0% of Americans who had access to such locations.

47. Yakima, Washington
> Pct. without health insurance:
26.2%
> Pct. food insecure: 4.6%
> Obesity rate: 31.3%
> 2014 unemployment rate: 9.0%

In Yakima, Washington’s least healthy city, only 13.8% of adults reported heavy drinking compared to the corresponding statewide figure of 16.9%. Despite a lower frequency of heavy drinking, nearly half of all fatal car accidents in the state were attributable to alcohol impaired driving. This figure was higher than both the national and statewide rates of 31% and 40%, respectively. Yakima residents were also less likely to receive preventive care such as regular checkups. More than a quarter of the Yakima population was uninsured, a significantly larger share than the 14% of Washingtonians who did not have insurance.


48. Beckley, West Virginia
> Pct. without health insurance:

14.3%
> Pct. food insecure: 8.4%
> Obesity rate: 32.4%
> 2014 unemployment rate: 7.5%

More than one-fifth of West Virginians reported fair or poor health, the highest share of any state. In Beckley, West Virginia’s least healthy city, nearly 23% reported such poor health, a significantly higher share than the 16% of Americans who reported less than optimal health. Along with higher than average obesity and smoking rates, the Beckley population also had higher than average STD rates. About one in 100 Beckley residents have chlamydia, roughly double the reported incidents of chlamydia per 100,000 Americans.

49. Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, Wisconsin
> Pct. without health insurance:
9.6%
> Pct. food insecure: 3.7%
> Obesity rate: 30.3%
> 2014 unemployment rate: 6.0%

The Milwaukee metro area is the least healthy in Wisconsin. At just over 30%, the area’s obesity rate hovers slightly above the national rate of 28.3%. Home to several microbreweries and one major brewery, MillerCoors, alcohol is a major part of Milwaukee’s economy and culture. Wisconsin led the nation for heavy drinking, with 24.4% of adults reporting such a habit. In Milwaukee, 22.3% of adults reported binge or heavy drinking, lower than the state proportion, but a far higher share than the 15% of Americans who reported excessive drinking. Additionally, 40% of all fatal car accidents were attributable to alcohol impaired driving, significantly higher than the corresponding nationwide figure of 31%.

50. Casper, Wyoming
> Pct. without health insurance:
14.9%
> Pct. food insecure: 12.1%
> Obesity rate: 27.1%
> 2014 unemployment rate: 4.2%

In Casper, the least healthy metro area in Wyoming, residents lose 8,193 years of life to premature death per 100,000 residents annually, versus the statewide incidence of premature death of 7,360. Pervasive bad habits may be responsible for much of the area’s health woes. Over 26% of Casper residents are smokers, significantly more than the corresponding state and national figures of 19.8% and 20.0%, respectively. Slightly more Casper adults reported excessive drinking as well. While only 15.0% of Americans reported binge or heavy drinking, 17.6% of adults in Casper reported unhealthy drinking habits. Additionally, nearly 25.0% of Casper residents reported no physical activity in their spare time, a slightly higher share than the 22.8% of adults in Wyoming. Lack of exercise may be partially responsible for the area’s obesity rate of 27.1%, which was higher than the state’s obesity rate, but lower than the national obesity rate of 28.3%.