Special Report

The Healthiest City in Every State

Source: George Dodd / Getty Images

Alabama: Daphne-Fairhope-Foley
> Adult obesity rate: 31.0% (state: 35.5%)
> Adult smoking rate: 17.5% (state: 20.9%)
> Pct. of adults who exercise: 73.5% (state: 70.2%)
> Residents with health insurance: 88.7% (state: 89.0%)
> Median household income: $56,439 (state: $51,734)

The Daphne metro area ranks as the healthiest city in Alabama. However, city residents are less healthy than the average American by several measures. Some 26.5% of adults in Daphne are physically inactive, for example, a lower inactivity rate than the 29.2% rate statewide yet higher than the 23.0% rate nationwide. Similarly, 31.0% of adults in Daphne are obese, below the state obesity rate of 35.5% yet slightly higher than the national rate of 29.0%.

Obesity is a risk factor for a number of potentially deadly diseases and conditions. In Daphne, 353 in every 100,000 residents die before the age of 75, the lowest premature death rate of any city in Alabama and far below the state premature death rate of 475 per 100,000. Nationwide, some 340 in every 100,000 Americans die before the age of 75 annually.

Source: LaraBelova / iStock via Getty Images

Alaska: Fairbanks
> Adult obesity rate: 30.0% (state: 32.5%)
> Adult smoking rate: 15.9% (state: 21.0%)
> Pct. of adults who exercise: 81.8% (state: 80.0%)
> Residents with health insurance: 86.8% (state: 85.2%)
> Median household income: $72,065 (state: $75,463)

Fairbanks is one of just two metro areas in Alaska and tends to be the healthier of the two — the other is Anchorage — in several key health outcome measures.

Adult Fairbanks residents report an average of three physically unhealthy days a month, one of the lowest averages among all 381 metro areas in the country and less compared to adults in Anchorage, who report an average of 3.6 physically unhealthy days a month. The metro area also has one of the lowest shares of adults who report being in poor or fair health and one of the lower low birthweight rates among newborns of any U.S. metro area.

Source: KingWu / E+ via Getty Images

Arizona: Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale
> Adult obesity rate: 27.5% (state: 27.5%)
> Adult smoking rate: 13.9% (state: 15.6%)
> Pct. of adults who exercise: 78.9% (state: 78.2%)
> Residents with health insurance: 88.0% (state: 87.9%)
> Median household income: $67,896 (state: $62,055)

Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale ranks as the healthiest metro area in Arizona. Adult residents report an average of 3.6 physically unhealthy days a month, the lowest of all seven metro areas in the state, compared to a statewide average of 4.0 days a month. Additionally, just 13.9% of metro area adults smoke, well below the 15.6% smoking rate across Arizona.

Just 16.0% of metro area adults report being in fair or poor health, a smaller share than the 18.6% of adults across the state as a whole.

Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

Arkansas: Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers
> Adult obesity rate: 29.7% (state: 34.2%)
> Adult smoking rate: 18.0% (state: 22.3%)
> Pct. of adults who exercise: 75.4% (state: 68.4%)
> Residents with health insurance: 88.3% (state: 90.7%)
> Median household income: $61,674 (state: $48,952)

Based on a number of key health measures, all six metropolitan areas in Arkansas compare unfavorably to the nation as a whole. The Fayetteville metro area, however, compares favorably to the other five metro areas in several important measures of health considered in the index, and in a few it even compares favorably to the U.S. as a whole.

Notably, Fayetteville’s premature mortality rate of 348 deaths before age 75 per 100,000 residents is much lower than every other metro area in the state and slightly higher than the national rate of 340 per 100,000. In all the other Arkansas metro areas, premature mortality rates exceed 400 per 100,000. Additionally, the adult smoking rate in Fayetteville is 17.9%, the lowest among the state’s six metro areas and just over the national smoking rate of 17.0%.

Source: NicolasMcComber / Getty Images

California: San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara
> Adult obesity rate: 20.0% (state: 23.6%)
> Adult smoking rate: 8.3% (state: 11.3%)
> Pct. of adults who exercise: 83.8% (state: 82.4%)
> Residents with health insurance: 94.8% (state: 91.8%)
> Median household income: $130,865 (state: $80,440)

San Jose is the healthiest metro area in California and one of the healthiest nationwide. Just 20.0% of metro area adults are obese, well below the 29.0% national obesity rate. Additionally, the metro area is one only two nationwide where adults report an average of fewer than three mentally unhealthy days per month and one of nine metro areas in the U.S. where adults report an average of fewer than three physically unhealthy days per month.

Remaining physically active can be critical to remaining healthy — both mentally and physically. In San Jose, only 16.2% of adults lead completely sedentary lives, a smaller share than the 17.6% state and 23.0% national physical inactivity rate.