Special Report

The Healthiest City in Every State

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Massachusetts: Boston-Cambridge-Newton
> Adult obesity rate: 23.9% (state: 24.7%)
> Adult smoking rate: 12.2% (state: 13.7%)
> Pct. of adults who exercise: 79.8% (state: 78.7%)
> Residents with health insurance: 96.5% (state: 96.7%)
> Median household income: $94,430 (state: $85,843)

Boston-Cambridge-Newton is the healthiest metro area in one of the healthiest states. The area’s premature mortality rate of 264 deaths before age 75 per 100,000 people is far lower than the national premature mortality rate of 340 per 100,000 and by far the lowest in Massachusetts. Area adults also report the fewest number of mentally unhealthy days per month of metro areas in the state.

In self-reported assessments of general health, those who exercise regularly and exhibit other healthy behaviors are more likely to rank their health as good or excellent. In the Boston metro area, just 12.6% of adults report being in fair or poor health, the second smallest share in Massachusetts.

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Michigan: Ann Arbor
> Adult obesity rate: 24.5% (state: 32.0%)
> Adult smoking rate: 12.1% (state: 19.3%)
> Pct. of adults who exercise: 84.7% (state: 76.6%)
> Residents with health insurance: 95.4% (state: 93.9%)
> Median household income: $76,576 (state: $59,584)

Ann Arbor is not only the healthiest metro area in Michigan but it is also one of the healthiest in the entire country. Only 11.9% of adults in Ann Arbor are in fair or poor health, the smallest share of any of the state’s 14 metro areas and below the 17.4% of adults across the state as a whole or the 17.0% across the country reporting similar health. Additionally, Ann Arbor’s 24.5% obesity rate is the lowest in the state and well below the 32.0% state rate and the 29.0% national rate

Exercise can lead to a greater perception of one’s own well-being and help in maintaining a healthy weight. In Ann Arbor, about 84.7% of adults are regularly physically active, by far the largest share of the state’s metro areas and well above the share of 76.6% among adults in Michigan or the share of 77.0% among adults in the U.S.

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Minnesota: Rochester
> Adult obesity rate: 29.6% (state: 27.9%)
> Adult smoking rate: 12.8% (state: 14.5%)
> Pct. of adults who exercise: 78.5% (state: 79.9%)
> Residents with health insurance: 95.3% (state: 94.9%)
> Median household income: $75,926 (state: $74,593)

Adults in Rochester report an average of just 2.7 physically unhealthy days per month, the smallest share of any metro area in Minnesota. Rochester residents are also less likely than residents statewide to engage in certain risky behaviors. For example, the rates of avoidable health outcomes like from sexually transmitted infections is lower in Rochester than they are across the state as a whole.

Only 10.2% of area adults report being in fair or poor health, the lowest share in the state and the second lowest among all U.S. metro areas. This may be partially due to healthy behaviors such as not smoking. Rochester’s adult smoking rate is 12.8%, lower than the state smoking rate of 14.5% or the national rate of 17.0%.

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Mississippi: Jackson
> Adult obesity rate: 37.3% (state: 36.8%)
> Adult smoking rate: 17.6% (state: 22.2%)
> Pct. of adults who exercise: 69.8% (state: 68.1%)
> Residents with health insurance: 87.3% (state: 85.5%)
> Median household income: $52,426 (state: $45,792)

While Jackson is the healthiest metro area in Mississippi, city residents are still less healthy than the average American by several metrics. Some 17.6% of adults in Jackson smoke, for example, the smallest share in Mississippi but a higher smoking rate than the 17.0% national rate. Similarly, while Jackson’s 12.7% uninsured rate is slightly lower than the state rate of 14.5%, it is far higher than the national uninsured rate of 10.0%.

Tobacco use and obesity are the two leading causes of preventable death. In Jackson, 444 in every 100,000 residents die before the age of 75 annually, the lowest premature mortality rate in Mississippi yet far more than the national rate of 340 per 100,000.

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Missouri: Columbia
> Adult obesity rate: 26.0% (state: 32.2%)
> Adult smoking rate: 18.5% (state: 20.8%)
> Pct. of adults who exercise: 77.2% (state: 74.2%)
> Residents with health insurance: 89.9% (state: 89.1%)
> Median household income: $57,359 (state: $57,409)

People in Columbia, Missouri, are more likely to live long, healthy lives than those in any of the state’s eight other metro areas. The premature mortality rate of 289 deaths before age 75 for every 100,000 people in the metro area is well below the comparable statewide rate of 400 premature deaths per 100,000. Additionally, just 16.7% of adults in Columbia report being in fair or poor health, below the 18.0% of adults statewide.

The positive health outcomes are attributable in part to healthy behaviors. For example, adults in Columbia are more likely to exercise than adults across the state as a whole.