Special Report

Healthiest County in Every State

Source: katsrcool / Wikimedia Commons

36. Oklahoma
> Healthiest county: Canadian
> Smoking rate: 14.9%
> Obesity rate: 35.0%
> Median household income: $64,505

Located just west of Oklahoma City and bisected by Interstate 40, Canadian is the healthiest county in Oklahoma. County adults report an average of 3.4 physically unhealthy and 3.5 mentally unhealthy days per month, versus the comparable statewide average of 4.4 and 4.1 days.

County residents benefit from a high overall level of health, despite some relatively common unhealthy behaviors. For example, 14.8% drink excessively. In comparison, 13.9% of Oklahomans are excessive drinkers. Further, unlike in many other health areas, 35.0% of adults in Canadian County are obese compared to the statewide obesity rate of 32.7%.

Source: M.O. Stevens / Wikimedia Commons

37. Oregon
> Healthiest county: Washington
> Smoking rate: 12.3%
> Obesity rate: 24.0%
> Median household income: $66,754

Maintaining an active lifestyle can benefit both physical and mental health. In Washington County, Oregon, 87.6% of adults are regularly physically active in their leisure time compared to 84.7% of adults statewide. The greater physical activity rates may partially explain why county adults experience fewer unhealthy days each month. County adults report an average of 3.2 physically unhealthy days and 3.7 mentally unhealthy days a month, each the least time of any county in the state.

County residents’ relatively active lifestyles may also help explain the comparably low obesity rate. Only 24.0% of adults in Washington County are obese, compared to 26.4% of Oregon adults.

Source: Smallbones / Wikimedia Commons

38. Pennsylvania
> Healthiest county: Chester
> Smoking rate: 15.3%
> Obesity rate: 23.0%
> Median household income: $85,976

Located in southern Pennsylvania between Lancaster and Philadelphia, Chester is the healthiest county in the state. Chester County adults report an average of only 3.0 physically unhealthy days a month, the fewest of any county in the state. Like many counties on this list, Chester is relatively affluent. The typical county household earns $85,976 a year, over $30,000 more than the statewide median income of $55,702.

While higher incomes can make healthy living easier, engaging in relatively few unhealthy habits also helps. Only 15.3% of Chester County adults smoke, compared to 18.1% of adults across Pennsylvania.

Source: Thinkstock

39. Rhode Island
> Healthiest county: Bristol
> Smoking rate: 12.7%
> Obesity rate: 22.9%
> Median household income: $72,458

Unsafe environments contribute to greater levels of stress, violence, and can lower overall health in a community. By contrast, safe communities are often also home to relatively healthy people. In Bristol County, Rhode Island, there are only about 70 violent crimes a year for every 100,000 residents, less than a third of the corresponding statewide violent crime rate of 243 incidents per 100,000 residents. Adults in Bristol County are also less likely to be obese, less likely to smoke, and more likely to maintain active lifestyles than adults across the state as a whole.

Source: Ken Lund / Flickr

40. South Carolina
> Healthiest county: Beaufort
> Smoking rate: 14.1%
> Obesity rate: 22.0%
> Median household income: $57,048

Beaufort is a coastal county in southern South Carolina. Adults in Beaufort are more likely to maintain active lifestyles and less likely to be obese than adults in any other county in the state. Healthy lifestyles increase the likelihood of healthy outcomes, and only 12.6% of adults in the county report being in fair or poor health, the smallest such share in the state and well below the 17.0% share statewide.

Unlike most areas on this list, a larger than average share of adults in Beaufort lack health insurance. The county’s uninsured rate of 17.3% is higher than the state and national rates of 16.1% and 14.0%.

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