Special Report

The Laziest City in Each State

21. Massachusetts
> Laziest city:
Springfield
> Pct. of city residents reporting physical activity: 76.2%
> Pct. of state residents reporting physical activity: 78.6%
> Obesity rate: 27.9%
> City population: 694,411

Springfield is the least active city in one of the more active states. In Massachusetts, 78.6% of adults exercise regularly, significantly more than the 73.0% of Americans who do. While Springfield adults are the least active in the state, they still exercise more than Americans overall, with 76.2% reporting regular physical activity. A lack of exercise habits is indicative of other unhealthy behaviors that together may lead to poor health outcomes. The obesity rate in the metro area is 27.9%, far higher than Massachusetts’s 23.9% obesity rate.

Less wealthy communities are often less likely to exercise in their spare time. The typical Springfield household makes just $50,916 annually, the second lowest median income in the state.

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22. Michigan
> Laziest city:
Niles-Benton Harbor
> Pct. of city residents reporting physical activity: 72.3%
> Pct. of state residents reporting physical activity: 77.2%
> Obesity rate: 36.2%
> City population: 156,759

Niles-Benton Harbor is the least active city in a fairly active state. In Michigan, 77.2% of residents report exercise regularly, a higher share than the 73.0% of Americans who do. Residents of Niles-Benton Harbor, however, are not as active. In the state’s laziest metro area, 72.3% of residents are get regular exercise.

Less active populations are more likely to be obese, and Niles-Benton Harbor is no exception. The obesity rate in Niles-Benton Harbor is 36.2% — far higher than Michigan’s 31.6% obesity rate — and the ninth highest of any metro area in the country.

23. Minnesota
> Laziest city:
Rochester
> Pct. of city residents reporting physical activity: 80.2%
> Pct. of state residents reporting physical activity: 80.7%
> Obesity rate: 24.6%
> City population: 186,214

In Minnesota, 80.7% of adults get regular physical activity, the eighth highest share of any state and significantly higher than the 73.0% of Americans who regularly engage in physical activity. Although Rochester is the state’s laziest city with 80.2% of adults exercising regularly, it is still more active than the country overall.

Less active populations are more likely to report worse physical health. Despite living in the state’s laziest city, Rochester adults are about as healthy as Minnesota residents overall. Of all adults in the metro area, 24.6% are obese, roughly similar to Minnesota’s 25.9% obesity rate. Similarly, adults in the metro area report feeling physically unhealthy for 2.3 days out of the last month on average, half a day less than the statewide response.

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24. Mississippi
> Laziest city:
Jackson
> Pct. of city residents reporting physical activity: 68.7%
> Pct. of state residents reporting physical activity: 67.5%
> Obesity rate: 34.7%
> City population: 540,752

Jackson is the least active city in the least active states in the United States. Just 68.7% of Mississippi residents report regular physical activity, 4.3 percentage points less than the 73.0% of Americans who do. Residents of Jackson are similarly inactive. In the state’s laziest metro area, 66.9% of residents are physically active. Less active populations are more likely to report higher obesity rates. In Jackson, however, 34.7% of adult residents are obese, roughly similar to Mississippi’s 35.3% obesity rate — itself the highest of any state.

25. Missouri
> Laziest city:
St. Joseph
> Pct. of city residents reporting physical activity: 71.5%
> Pct. of state residents reporting physical activity: 73.7%
> Obesity rate: 35.2%
> City population: 127,176

In St. Joseph, just 71.5% of residents get exercise regularly — a smaller share than the 73.7% of Missouri adults and 73.0% of American adults who do overall. Less active populations are more likely to be in worse physical health, and St. Joseph is no exception. The obesity rate in the metro area is 35.2%, far higher than Missouri’s 30.9% obesity rate and one of the highest of any city in the country. Populations with higher levels of education are likely to be more physically active and have better health outcomes. The converse is also true. In St. Joseph, just 19.2% of adults have at least a bachelor’s degree, the lowest share in the state.