Special Report

The Least Healthy County in Every State

6. Colorado
> Least healthy county:
> Pct. without health insurance: 29.9%
> Pct. limited access to healthy food: 55.3%
> Obesity rate: 21.4%
> 2015 unemployment rate: 9.1%

Higher educational attainment is closely tied to better health outcomes. In Costilla, Colorado’s least healthy county, 28% of adults have at least some postsecondary education compared to 70% of adults statewide. County residents are also far more likely to die before age 75 than adults across Colorado. Costilla residents are also less likely to exercise than adults across the state, and only 20% of residents have access to locations for physical activity — compared to 91% of adults statewide.

7. Connecticut
> Least healthy county:
> Pct. without health insurance: 11.3%
> Pct. limited access to healthy food: 6.2%
> Obesity rate: 28.9%
> 2015 unemployment rate: 7.3%

Connecticut residents tend to be affluent and relatively healthy compared to those in other states. So, while Windham County is the state’s least healthy area, many residents still fare better than people across the nation. Windham’s median household income of $57,547 is lower than the state figure of $70,007 but still significantly higher than the national median of $53,700. Incidence of premature death, for example, is more common in Windham than across the state, but it is still less common than it is nationwide.

8. Delaware
> Least healthy county:
> Pct. without health insurance: 10.4%
> Pct. limited access to healthy food: 4.8%
> Obesity rate: 33.2%
> 2015 unemployment rate: 6.4%

Of Delaware’s three counties, Kent is the least healthy, with several behavioral measures and health outcomes trailing statewide figures. The county is home to a larger share of obese adults and a smaller share of adults who exercise regularly than the state a whole. Kent County’s adults may be exercising less because only 69.5% of residents have access to areas for physical activity, compared to the 84.9% of people across the state who do.

9. Florida
> Least healthy county:
> Pct. without health insurance: 22.6%
> Pct. limited access to healthy food: 5.8%
> Obesity rate: 38.1%
> 2015 unemployment rate: 8.0%

Gadsden’s population is the least healthy in Florida. While good personal health is closely correlated with healthy habits, several factors outside of an individual’s control also play a major role. Only 59% of county residents have adequate access to areas for exercise, while 92% of all Floridians have adequate access. Activity can be crucial to both physical and mental well-being, and Gadsden residents are less likely to exercise, more likely to be obese, and more likely to have frequent mentally unhealthy days than most Floridians.

10. Georgia
> Least healthy county:
> Pct. without health insurance: 24.9%
> Pct. limited access to healthy food: 43.9%
> Obesity rate: 34.1%
> 2015 unemployment rate: 11.0%

Rural populations appear to face greater obstacles to maintaining good health. Taliaferro County, which has a 100% rural population, is the least healthy county in Georgia. Poor health not only reduces the life expectancy of a population, but it can also significantly diminish the quality of life for the average person. This is clearly the case in Taliaferro, where nearly 30% of county residents report being in fair or poor health, more than double the national proportion. Residents also report an average of close to five days of poor mental health each month, compared to a U.S. average of 3.5 days.