Special Report

Healthiest County in Every State

Source: Thinkstock

46. Virginia
> Healthiest county: Arlington
> Smoking rate: 12.2%
> Obesity rate: 16.1%
> Median household income: $105,763

Located across the Potomac River just southwest from Washington D.C., Arlington County is the healthiest in Virginia. Arlington residents are among the most affluent nationwide, which likely helps in maintaining healthy and active lifestyles and therefore contributes to healthy outcomes. The typical Arlington household earns $105,763 a year, nearly twice the $53,889 national median household income.

The Census estimates that 100% of Arlington residents have access to opportunities for physical activity, compared to 81% of residents statewide. With numerous locations for outdoor recreation, just 13.4% of Arlington adults do not exercise and only 16.1% are obese — far less than the state inactivity and obesity rates of 21.4% and 27.2%, respectively.

Source: Thinkstock

47. Washington
> Healthiest county: King
> Smoking rate: 10.1%
> Obesity rate: 22.2%
> Median household income: $75,302

Living in a dense, urban environments can have numerous health benefits, as residents may be more likely to commute by walking or bicycling and have more access to recreational opportunities. Roughly one-third of the King County population lives in Seattle, the largest city in Washington state. An estimated 98.1% of county residents have access to opportunities for physical activity, and 86.5% exercise regularly — each the largest share in the state. Such healthy behavior can significantly reduces the risk of premature death. For every 100,000 King County residents, 235 die before the age of 75 annually, less than the statewide premature mortality rate of 286 deaths per 100,000 residents.

48. West Virginia
> Healthiest county: Putnam
> Smoking rate: 20.4%
> Obesity rate: 34.6%
> Median household income: $56,774

With a life expectancy of just 75.4 years — three years less than the average American — West Virginia is one of the least healthy states. While Putnam is the healthiest county in the state, the typical resident is still less healthy than the typical American. The county’s 20.4% smoking rate is the lowest in the state, for example, yet it is still higher than the 18.0% national figure.

Despite being in the healthiest county in West Virginia, Putnam County residents are at a greater risk of premature death than Americans on average. In Putnam County, 369 people die before the age of 75 per 100,000 people annually, less than the state figure of 471 premature deaths per 100,000 residents, but more than the national premature mortality rate of 333 per 100,000 Americans.

Source: Thinkstock

49. Wisconsin
> Healthiest county: Ozaukee
> Smoking rate: 14.1%
> Obesity rate: 27.1%
> Median household income: $76,433

Ozaukee County is the healthiest county in Wisconsin, and among the healthiest of all U.S. counties. Just 14.1% of area adults smoke, a smaller share than the both the 17.3% state and 18.0% national rates. While 22.0% of Americans and 20.4% of Wisconsin residents to not exercise, the inactivity rate for Ozaukee County is just 18.9%. Healthy living in Ozaukee is likely made possible by high income among area residents. An estimated 10.4% of county households earn at least $200,000 a year, the largest share in Wisconsin.

Overall, the risk of premature death in Ozaukee County is the lowest in the state. Some 212 per 100,000 residents die before the age of 75, far less than the state premature mortality rate of 301 deaths per 100,000 residents.

Source: Thinkstock

50. Wyoming
> Healthiest county: Teton
> Smoking rate: 14.3%
> Obesity rate: 12.7%
> Median household income: $75,325

Spanning parts of Yellowstone National and Grand Teton National Park, Teton County provides an estimated 97.8% of its residents with adequate access to locations for physical activity, the largest share in Wyoming. Most Teton residents take advantage of the numerous recreational opportunities, as only 10.8% of county adults do not exercise — less than half the 22.4% state inactivity rate and the seventh smallest share of any county nationwide. Healthy behavior, including low inactivity and smoking rates, has likely contributed to the long life expectancy in the county. The life expectancy at birth in Teton County is 82 years, four years longer than the 78-year life expectancy for Wyoming as a whole and one of the longest of any U.S. county.