Special Report

The Least Healthy County in Every State

Source: afiler / Flickr

26. Montana: Big Horn County
> Uninsured rate: 39.3% (county) 8.5% (state)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 25.6% (county) 13.9% (state)
> Obesity rate: 37.9% (county) 25.0% (state)
> Smoking rate: 25.7% (county) 18.5% (state)

One in four people in Big Horn County report being in poor or fair health, the highest share of all counties in Montana. The county also has the highest percentage of adults who are obese, at almost 38%, compared with 25% statewide.

Unhealthy habits that are significantly more common among residents of Big Horn than people in the state as a whole. Nearly 26% of adults smoke compared with 19% in the state as a whole, and 25% report no exercise compared with 21% statewide.

See all stories featuring: Montana

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

27. Nebraska: Thurston County
> Uninsured rate: 28.2% (county) 8.3% (state)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 22.6% (county) 14.2% (state)
> Obesity rate: 43.3% (county) 30.7% (state)
> Smoking rate: 28.8% (county) 17.0% (state)

The stress associated with poverty can be detrimental to personal health, and in Thurston County, Nebraska, 30.5% of the population lives below the poverty line, nearly triple the 10.8% state poverty rate. Likely due in part to widespread financial insecurity, 22.6% of county adults report being in fair or poor health compared with just 14.2% of adults across the state.

Additionally, low-income Americans can afford less health care and fewer healthy options related to diet and lifestyle — and poor diets likely contribute to the county’s 43.3% obesity rate, by far the highest in the state.

See all stories featuring: Nebraska

Source: Ken Lund from Las Vegas, Nevada, USA / Wikimedia Commons

28. Nevada: Mineral County
> Uninsured rate: 15.3% (county) 11.2% (state)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 19.9% (county) 20.5% (state)
> Obesity rate: 29.2% (county) 26.8% (state)
> Smoking rate: 20.5% (county) 16.5% (state)

Adults in Mineral County report the second highest average number of physically unhealthy days a month and the highest number of mentally unhealthy days of counties in Nevada. Smoking and not engaging in physical activities are unhealthy behaviors that are slightly more common among adult residents in the county than in the state as a whole.

Statewide, the county has the fourth highest share of uninsured residents and the second highest share of adults who report being in poor or fair health.

See all stories featuring: Nevada

Source: Jorisvo / Getty Images

29. New Hampshire: Coos County
> Uninsured rate: 9.7% (county) 5.8% (state)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 14.3% (county) 13.6% (state)
> Obesity rate: 29.8% (county) 27.9% (state)
> Smoking rate: 16.8% (county) 18.0% (state)

Coos County, New Hampshire, has the least physically active adult population of any county in the state. An estimated 26.2% of adults in the county get no exercise beyond getting up and going to work, well above the 20.6% of inactive adults in the state. Coos County adults are also more likely to be obese and in less than optimal health than the typical adult in New Hampshire.

See all stories featuring: New Hampshire

Source: Dennis / Flicker

30. New Jersey: Cumberland County
> Uninsured rate: 12.1% (county) 7.7% (state)
> Adults in fair or poor health: 23.2% (county) 16.5% (state)
> Obesity rate: 34.7% (county) 25.9% (state)
> Smoking rate: 17.2% (county) 14.0% (state)

Cumberland County ranks as the least healthy in New Jersey, in part because of its 35% state-leading adult obesity rate. To compare, the adult obesity rate in New Jersey is 26%. Also, Cumberland is the county with the highest percentage of adults who report spending no time exercising — almost 30% compared with a state average of 23%.

Cumberland County is the poorest in New Jersey. Poverty can limit people’s access to health care as well as to healthy foods, which overtime may result in increased risk of diseases.

See all stories featuring: New Jersey