Special Report

Healthiest City in Every State

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The United States spends more per capita on health care than any other country, yet health outcomes lag behind many other developed nations. Not all Americans have the same access to quality care, and disadvantaged citizens are often the ones left behinds. The disparity in health care could partly explain why life expectancy varies by nearly 10 years across U.S. metropolitan areas.

Even among metropolitan areas within the same state, health outcomes can differ dramatically. In California’s healthiest metropolitan area, San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, the life expectancy at birth is 82.7 years. However, there are four California cities with a life expectancy more than five years shorter.

To determine the healthiest city in every state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed several factors such as healthy behavior, clinical care, social and economic conditions, and the physical environment of residents in all U.S. metro areas. We constructed an index out of these factors that can capture the health of a city’s residents.

Click here to see the healthiest city in every state.

One of the most important measures of a city’s health is the rate at which members of the population die prematurely. This rate is a common method used to quantify the amount of preventable deaths in an area by measuring the number of deaths among residents younger than 75 years old. The premature death rate in all 50 cities on this list is lower than the national rate. The San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara metro area has the lowest rate in the nation at 200 preventable deaths per 100,000 residents, which is well less than half of the preventable deaths of the nation as a whole.

While the healthiest city in every state tends to have better health outcomes than the nation overall, occasionally one of these cities ranks exceptionally low nationwide. For example, Mississippi as a whole has some of the worst health outcomes in the country, including the highest rate of preventable deaths of any state. While Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula is the healthiest metro area in Mississippi, it is still among the least healthy cities in the nation.

Many behavioral factors affect a population’s health, with smoking and obesity rates among the most significant. Higher rates of both increase the risk of many preventable diseases and ultimately cause an increase in premature deaths. Because the healthiest metros tend to have lower smoking and obesity rates, it is unsurprising to find their residents tend to live longer than their statewide peers.

In addition to healthy behaviors, social and economic conditions in an area affect how healthy residents tend to be. Adequate health care may be too expensive for low-income or unemployed residents. Quality care can still be more expensive still. Consequently, most healthy cities also tend to be wealthier. Unemployment rates are lower than the country in all but 12 of the 50 cities on this list. Also, in the majority of these cities, median household incomes are higher than the national median income.

To identify the healthiest city in every state, 24/7 Wall St. created an index modelled after an analysis conducted by County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute joint program. The index rankings are based on overall health outcomes, a weighted composite of length of life, quality of life, and overall health factors. The health factors component is itself a weighted composite of healthy behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors, and physical environment measures. All data used are for the most recent available year. The index was used to compare all U.S. metropolitan statistical areas as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau. Four states — Delaware, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont — have only one metropolitan statistical area. In these states, the sole metro area is listed by default.

Daphne-Fairhope-Foley, Alabama
Source: Wikimedia Commons

1. Daphne-Fairhope-Foley, Alabama
> Premature death rate: 356.0 (per 100,000 residents)
> Adult obesity rate: 26.7%
> Adults without health insurance: 14.8%
> Median household income: $50,183

Fairbanks, Alaska
Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/11127719@N04/

2. Fairbanks, Alaska
> Premature death rate: 302.7 (per 100,000 residents)
> Adult obesity rate: 28.6%
> Adults without health insurance: 11.7%
> Median household income: $70,408

Phoenix, Arizona
Source: Thinkstock

3. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Arizona
> Premature death rate: 295.9 (per 100,000 residents)
> Adult obesity rate: 22.9%
> Adults without health insurance: 13.3%
> Median household income: $53,310

Fayetteville, Arkansas
Source: Wikimedia Commons

4. Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, Arkansas
> Premature death rate: 355.5 (per 100,000 residents)
> Adult obesity rate: 28.9%
> Adults without health insurance: 13.5%
> Median household income: $48,627

San Jose, California
Source: Thinkstock

5. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California
> Premature death rate: 200.6 (per 100,000 residents)
> Adult obesity rate: 19.6%
> Adults without health insurance: 7.1%
> Median household income: $92,960

Flatirons Boulder, Colorado
Source: Thinkstock

6. Boulder, Colorado
> Premature death rate: 209.0 (per 100,000 residents)
> Adult obesity rate: 13.3%
> Adults without health insurance: 7.3%
> Median household income: $69,407

Bridgeport, Connecticut
Source: Wikimedia Commons

7. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Connecticut
> Premature death rate: 223.5 (per 100,000 residents)
> Adult obesity rate: 20.8%
> Adults without health insurance: 10.1%
> Median household income: $83,163

Dover, Delaware
Source: Thinkstock

8. Dover, Delaware
> Premature death rate: 379.0 (per 100,000 residents)
> Adult obesity rate: 33.2%
> Adults without health insurance: 7.4%
> Median household income: $55,169

Naples, FL
Source: Thinkstock

9. Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, Florida
> Premature death rate: 230.7 (per 100,000 residents)
> Adult obesity rate: 18.8%
> Adults without health insurance: 18.7%
> Median household income: $56,250

Gainesville, GA
Source: Wikimedia Commons

10. Gainesville, Georgia
> Premature death rate: 330.6 (per 100,000 residents)
> Adult obesity rate: 25.7%
> Adults without health insurance: 17.6%
> Median household income: $51,036

Honolulu, Hawaii
Source: Thinkstock

11. Urban Honolulu, Hawaii
> Premature death rate: 271.2 (per 100,000 residents)
> Adult obesity rate: 21.9%
> Adults without health insurance: 4.7%
> Median household income: $73,581

Boise, Idaho capital building
Source: Thinkstock

12. Boise City, Idaho
> Premature death rate: 287.3 (per 100,000 residents)
> Adult obesity rate: 26.8%
> Adults without health insurance: 12.6%
> Median household income: $50,776

Bloomington, Illlinois
Source: Thinkstock

13. Bloomington, Illinois
> Premature death rate: 292.0 (per 100,000 residents)
> Adult obesity rate: 29.3%
> Adults without health insurance: 4.9%
> Median household income: $61,173

Bloomington, Indiana
Source: Thinkstock

14. Bloomington, Indiana
> Premature death rate: 324.8 (per 100,000 residents)
> Adult obesity rate: 22.5%
> Adults without health insurance: 10.2%
> Median household income: $42,416

Ames, Iowa
Source: Wikimedia Commons

15. Ames, Iowa
> Premature death rate: 214.3 (per 100,000 residents)
> Adult obesity rate: 25.6%
> Adults without health insurance: 5.9%
> Median household income: $51,270

lawrence kansas
Source: Wikimedia Commons

16. Lawrence, Kansas
> Premature death rate: 269.9 (per 100,000 residents)
> Adult obesity rate: 23.3%
> Adults without health insurance: 9.2%
> Median household income: $50,732

Morning in Lexington, Kentucky
Source: Thinkstock

17. Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky
> Premature death rate: 358.7 (per 100,000 residents)
> Adult obesity rate: 28.2%
> Adults without health insurance: 9.6%
> Median household income: $49,997

Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Source: Thinkstock

18. Baton Rouge, Louisiana
> Premature death rate: 431.1 (per 100,000 residents)
> Adult obesity rate: 33.9%
> Adults without health insurance: 13.3%
> Median household income: $51,829

Portland Lighthouse, Maine
Source: Thinkstock

19. Portland-South Portland, Maine
> Premature death rate: 274.6 (per 100,000 residents)
> Adult obesity rate: 24.1%
> Adults without health insurance: 8.3%
> Median household income: $58,000

California-Lexington Park, Maryland
Source: Thinkstock

20. California-Lexington Park, Maryland
> Premature death rate: 319.0 (per 100,000 residents)
> Adult obesity rate: 30.3%
> Adults without health insurance: 5.6%
> Median household income: $88,190

Barnstable Town, Massachusetts
Source: Wikimedia Commons

21. Barnstable Town, Massachusetts
> Premature death rate: 270.1 (per 100,000 residents)
> Adult obesity rate: 19.7%
> Adults without health insurance: 3.2%
> Median household income: $61,597

Ann Arbor, Michigan
Source: Wikimedia Commons

22. Ann Arbor, Michigan
> Premature death rate: 254.8 (per 100,000 residents)
> Adult obesity rate: 23.3%
> Adults without health insurance: 5.7%
> Median household income: $60,805

Rochester, Minnesota
Source: Wikimedia Commons

23. Rochester, Minnesota
> Premature death rate: 229.7 (per 100,000 residents)
> Adult obesity rate: 25.1%
> Adults without health insurance: 5.4%
> Median household income: $64,210

Biloxi Beach at Sunset, Mississippi
Source: Thinkstock

24. Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, Mississippi
> Premature death rate: 459.4 (per 100,000 residents)
> Adult obesity rate: 32.0%
> Adults without health insurance: 17.3%
> Median household income: $44,826

Columns in front of University of Missouri building
Source: Thinkstock

25. Columbia, Missouri
> Premature death rate: 304.2 (per 100,000 residents)
> Adult obesity rate: 27.3%
> Adults without health insurance: 7.6%
> Median household income: $49,059

Missoula, Montana
Source: Thinkstock

26. Missoula, Montana
> Premature death rate: 285.2 (per 100,000 residents)
> Adult obesity rate: 21.4%
> Adults without health insurance: 11.4%
> Median household income: $47,029

Lincoln, Nebraska
Source: Thinkstock

27. Lincoln, Nebraska
> Premature death rate: 269.7 (per 100,000 residents)
> Adult obesity rate: 26.3%
> Adults without health insurance: 8.8%
> Median household income: $52,291

Reno, Nevada downtown during winter
Source: Thinkstock

28. Reno, Nevada
> Premature death rate: 357.6 (per 100,000 residents)
> Adult obesity rate: 22.2%
> Adults without health insurance: 12.6%
> Median household income: $53,047

Manchester, New Hampshire
Source: Wikimedia Commons

29. Manchester-Nashua, New Hampshire
> Premature death rate: 279.4 (per 100,000 residents)
> Adult obesity rate: 27.3%
> Adults without health insurance: 8.3%
> Median household income: $70,906

Trenton, New Jersey
Source: Thinkstock

30. Trenton, New Jersey
> Premature death rate: 298.0 (per 100,000 residents)
> Adult obesity rate: 24.3%
> Adults without health insurance: 10.0%
> Median household income: $74,118

Santa Fe, New Mexico
Source: Thinkstock

31. Santa Fe, New Mexico
> Premature death rate: 293.7 (per 100,000 residents)
> Adult obesity rate: 13.8%
> Adults without health insurance: 16.6%
> Median household income: $52,958

Ithaca, New York
Source: Wikimedia Commons

32. Ithaca, New York
> Premature death rate: 269.4 (per 100,000 residents)
> Adult obesity rate: 23.7%
> Adults without health insurance: 4.6%
> Median household income: $52,836

Raleigh (Wake County), North Carolina
Source: Thinkstock

33. Raleigh, North Carolina
> Premature death rate: 285.4 (per 100,000 residents)
> Adult obesity rate: 26.8%
> Adults without health insurance: 11.8%
> Median household income: $62,794

Fargo, North Dakota 2
Source: Thinkstock

34. Fargo, North Dakota
> Premature death rate: 280.0 (per 100,000 residents)
> Adult obesity rate: 27.5%
> Adults without health insurance: 6.7%
> Median household income: $53,634

Columbus, Ohio
Source: Thinkstock

35. Columbus, Ohio
> Premature death rate: 365.5 (per 100,000 residents)
> Adult obesity rate: 29.8%
> Adults without health insurance: 8.5%
> Median household income: $55,115

Oklahoma City Sunrise
Source: Thinkstock

36. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
> Premature death rate: 427.0 (per 100,000 residents)
> Adult obesity rate: 30.8%
> Adults without health insurance: 14.0%
> Median household income: $50,967

Corvallis, Oregon
Source: Thinkstock

37. Corvallis, Oregon
> Premature death rate: 228.7 (per 100,000 residents)
> Adult obesity rate: 19.7%
> Adults without health insurance: 7.6%
> Median household income: $49,338

State College, Pennsylvania
Source: Wikimedia Commons

38. State College, Pennsylvania
> Premature death rate: 230.6 (per 100,000 residents)
> Adult obesity rate: 25.3%
> Adults without health insurance: 5.7%
> Median household income: $50,295

Providence, Rhode Island 4
Source: Thinkstock

39. Providence-Warwick, Rhode Island
> Premature death rate: 309.9 (per 100,000 residents)
> Adult obesity rate: 27.0%
> Adults without health insurance: 6.1%
> Median household income: $56,267

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, Beaufort County
Source: Thinkstock

40. Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort, South Carolina
> Premature death rate: 283.7 (per 100,000 residents)
> Adult obesity rate: 24.6%
> Adults without health insurance: 13.5%
> Median household income: $53,863

Sioux Falls at dawn, South Dakota
Source: Thinkstock

41. Sioux Falls, South Dakota
> Premature death rate: 308.2 (per 100,000 residents)
> Adult obesity rate: 28.1%
> Adults without health insurance: 6.5%
> Median household income: $57,356

Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, Tennessee
Source: Thinkstock

42. Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, Tennessee
> Premature death rate: 388.0 (per 100,000 residents)
> Adult obesity rate: 32.0%
> Adults without health insurance: 11.9%
> Median household income: $52,805

Austin, Texas
Source: Thinkstock

43. Austin-Round Rock, Texas
> Premature death rate: 259.4 (per 100,000 residents)
> Adult obesity rate: 23.3%
> Adults without health insurance: 15.5%
> Median household income: $61,900

Provo, Utah
Source: Thinkstock

44. Provo-Orem, Utah
> Premature death rate: 250.6 (per 100,000 residents)
> Adult obesity rate: 23.3%
> Adults without health insurance: 10.8%
> Median household income: $60,647

Burlington (Chittenden County), Vermont
Source: Thinkstock

45. Burlington-South Burlington, Vermont
> Premature death rate: 265.2 (per 100,000 residents)
> Adult obesity rate: 22.7%
> Adults without health insurance: 4.0%
> Median household income: $62,175

University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia
Source: Thinkstock

46. Charlottesville, Virginia
> Premature death rate: 289.9 (per 100,000 residents)
> Adult obesity rate: 25.8%
> Adults without health insurance: 11.7%
> Median household income: $59,189

Seattle skyline
Source: Thinkstock

47. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Washington
> Premature death rate: 272.5 (per 100,000 residents)
> Adult obesity rate: 25.5%
> Adults without health insurance: 8.3%
> Median household income: $68,969

Morgantown, West Virginia
Source: Wikimedia Commons

48. Morgantown, West Virginia
> Premature death rate: 355.9 (per 100,000 residents)
> Adult obesity rate: 29.5%
> Adults without health insurance: 7.9%
> Median household income: $46,028

La Crosse-Onalaska, Wisconsin
Source: Wikimedia Commons

49. La Crosse-Onalaska, Wisconsin
> Premature death rate: 273.4 (per 100,000 residents)
> Adult obesity rate: 25.2%
> Adults without health insurance: 5.4%
> Median household income: $51,160

Cheyenne, Wyoming
Source: Thinkstock

50. Cheyenne, Wyoming
> Premature death rate: 339.0 (per 100,000 residents)
> Adult obesity rate: 28.2%
> Adults without health insurance: 9.2%
> Median household income: $58,324

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