Special Report

The Healthiest City in Every State

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Kansas: Manhattan
> Adult obesity rate: 26.9% (state: 33.2%)
> Adult smoking rate: 14.6% (state: 17.4%)
> Pct. of adults who exercise: 81.2% (state: 75.2%)
> Residents with health insurance: 91.5% (state: 89.9%)
> Median household income: $59,010 (state: $62,087)

Manhattan ranks as the healthiest metro area in Kansas and one of the healthiest in the United States. Adults in the metro area tend to report relatively little time spent in a state of poor physical or mental health.

Children born with low birthweight — defined as under 2,500 grams, or about 5.5 pounds — are more likely to be susceptible to immediate and future health issues. A high rate of low birth weight in a given area can be an indicator of poor health among mothers in the area. Manhattan has one of the lowest rates of low birth weights of any U.S. metro area. Low birthweight rates are a potential risk factor for premature mortality, and Manhattan has the lowest premature death rate of any metro area in the state.

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Kentucky: Lexington-Fayette
> Adult obesity rate: 29.7% (state: 33.8%)
> Adult smoking rate: 19.4% (state: 24.6%)
> Pct. of adults who exercise: 77.1% (state: 71.4%)
> Residents with health insurance: 93.0% (state: 93.6%)
> Median household income: $60,492 (state: $52,295)

The obesity rate in the Lexington-Fayette metro area of 29.7% is slightly higher than the national rate of 29.0% but the lowest of the five metro areas in Kentucky. Physically active lifestyles can help in maintaining a healthy weight, and in Lexington, just 22.9% of adults get no exercise, the lowest physical inactivity rate of metro areas in the state.

People who are steadily employed are less likely to deal with the stress associated with unemployment and are less likely to face poverty and financial uncertainty. They are often more likely to have better health outcomes. Lexington-Fayette’s 2019 unemployment rate was just 3.4%, the lowest in the state.

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Louisiana: Baton Rouge
> Adult obesity rate: 33.3% (state: 35.4%)
> Adult smoking rate: 19.2% (state: 23.1%)
> Pct. of adults who exercise: 71.7% (state: 70.8%)
> Residents with health insurance: 91.6% (state: 90.4%)
> Median household income: $60,746 (state: $51,073)

Louisiana’s nine metropolitan areas do not compare well to the U.S. as a whole in many key measures of health behavior or outcomes. But among these, Baton Rouge ranks as the best of the lot. While the capital city’s adult smoking rate of 19.2% is higher than the national rate of 17.0%, it is still the lowest in the state. The same goes for the city’s poverty rate of 15.0%, which, while higher than the national rate of 12.3% is still lower than any other metro area in the state. Areas with lower poverty rates tend to have better health outcomes.

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Maine: Portland-South Portland
> Adult obesity rate: 26.5% (state: 29.9%)
> Adult smoking rate: 12.6% (state: 17.3%)
> Pct. of adults who exercise: 81.7% (state: 78.4%)
> Residents with health insurance: 91.1% (state: 89.8%)
> Median household income: $71,913 (state: $58,924)

Portland is the only metro area in Maine where adults report fewer than four mentally unhealthy days per month on average. This positive outcome may partially be due to a greater prevalence of healthy lifestyles. For example, just 26.5% of adults in the metro area are obese, the lowest obesity rate of Maine’s three metro areas and below the 29.9% state obesity rate. The coastal city also has the lowest smoking rate in the state and is home to a larger share of adults who exercise regularly than the state average.

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Maryland: California-Lexington Park
> Adult obesity rate: 36.4% (state: 31.0%)
> Adult smoking rate: 15.0% (state: 13.8%)
> Pct. of adults who exercise: 76.1% (state: 77.6%)
> Residents with health insurance: 94.8% (state: 93.0%)
> Median household income: $87,947 (state: $86,738)

California-Lexington Park has the lowest annual unemployment rate of any metro area in Maryland at just 3.3%. Additionally, just 13.0% of metro area adults report being in fair or poor health, the smallest share of the state’s five metro areas and well below the 14.9% share of adults across Maryland as a whole.

Americans with higher incomes are often able to have better access to health care as well as a greater range of healthy options related to diet and lifestyle. In the California-Lexington Park metro area, the typical household earns $87,947 a year, the most of any of the five metro areas in the state.