The United States spends more on health care than any other country, yet ranks just 42nd in life expectancy. Health care expenditure per capita in the United states reached $9,990 in 2015, more than double the expenditure in Japan, which has the longest life expectancy of any nation.
Despite world-leading health spending, diseases such as diabetes and obesity are more widespread in the United States than ever. However, health outcomes are not uniform across the country. Populations of some states are far less healthy than others. Similarly, populations of some cities within a state are also less healthy. For example, the premature death rate — the number of people who die before age 75 — is 565 per 100,000 residents in Beckley, West Virginia. This is a far greater rate than in San Jose, California where less than 200 people die prematurely per every 100,000 residents.
To identify the least healthy metropolitan area in every state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed measures of healthy behavior, clinical care, social and economic conditions, physical environment, and other factors in all U.S. metro areas. Included in the index are key measures such as premature mortality, smoking and obesity rates, the share of adults who have no free time for physical activity, and health insurance coverage. Using these measures, we constructed an index that reflects the health of a metro area’s population.