Special Report

The Least Healthy County In Every State

Montana: Glacier
> Adults in fair or poor health: 24.9% (county) 14.7% (state)
> Adult obesity rate: 36.9% (county) 25.8% (state)
> Adult smoking rate: 30.6% (county) 17.2% (state)
> Adults with no health insurance: 37.7% (county) 9.0% (state)
> County population: 13,732
> Largest city: Cut Bank

One in four people in Glacier County, Montana, report being in poor or fair health, the highest share of all 56 counties in the state. The county has the fifth highest percentage of adults who are obese, at 36.9%, compared with 25.8% statewide.

Several unhealthy habits are significantly more common among residents of Glacier than people in the state as a whole. About 30.6% of adults smoke compared with 17.2% in the state as a whole, and 31.1% report no exercise compared with 21.6% statewide.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Nebraska: Thurston
> Adults in fair or poor health: 25.1% (county) 14.4% (state)
> Adult obesity rate: 44.1% (county) 32.2% (state)
> Adult smoking rate: 27.0% (county) 15.4% (state)
> Adults with no health insurance: 25.3% (county) 8.2% (state)
> County population: 7,181
> Largest city: Pender

The stress associated with poverty can be detrimental to personal health, and in Thurston County, Nebraska, 25.5% of the population live below the poverty line, the largest share in the state and more than double the 11.1% state poverty rate. Likely due in part to widespread financial insecurity, 25.1% of county adults report being in fair or poor health compared with just 14.4% of adults across the state.

Additionally, low-income Americans can afford less health care and fewer healthy options related to diet and lifestyle — and both likely contribute to the county’s 44.1% obesity rate, the highest in the state and among the highest in the country.

Source: jmoor17 / Getty Images

Nevada: Mineral
> Adults in fair or poor health: 21.9% (county) 19.9% (state)
> Adult obesity rate: 30.0% (county) 25.7% (state)
> Adult smoking rate: 21.5% (county) 17.6% (state)
> Adults with no health insurance: 9.8% (county) 11.1% (state)
> County population: 4,460
> Largest city: Hawthorne CDP

Adults in Mineral County, Nevada, report the highest average number of both physically and mentally unhealthy days a month of all counties in the state. Certain unhealthy behaviors are more common among adult residents in the county than in the state as a whole. Both the adult smoking rate of 21.5% and the inactivity rate of 31.4% are the highest in the state.

Statewide, the county has the second highest share of adults who report being in poor or fair health, at 21.9%.

Source: Bob Gunderson / Flickr

New Hampshire: Coos
> Adults in fair or poor health: 14.9% (county) 13.1% (state)
> Adult obesity rate: 33.6% (county) 27.9% (state)
> Adult smoking rate: 16.5% (county) 15.7% (state)
> Adults with no health insurance: 7.2% (county) 5.9% (state)
> County population: 31,741
> Largest city: Berlin

Coos County, New Hampshire, has the second smallest physically active adult population of any county in the state. An estimated 25.9% of adults in the county get no exercise beyond getting up and going to work, well above the 21.3% of inactive adults in the state. County adults are also far more likely to be obese than the typical adult in New Hampshire.

Coos County adult residents are more likely to be in less than optimal health than adult residents in any other state county. About 14.9% of adults report being in poor or fair health compared to 13.1% of adults statewide.

Source: shakzu / iStock via Getty Images

New Jersey: Cumberland
> Adults in fair or poor health: 22.6% (county) 17.7% (state)
> Adult obesity rate: 35.9% (county) 26.4% (state)
> Adult smoking rate: 18.3% (county) 13.7% (state)
> Adults with no health insurance: 9.4% (county) 7.8% (state)
> County population: 151,906
> Largest city: Vineland

Cumberland County ranks as the least healthy in New Jersey, in part because of its 35.9% adult obesity rate, the second highest in the state. To compare, the adult obesity rate in New Jersey is 26.4%. Also, 31.2% of adults who report spending no time exercising, the highest percentage of counties in the state and compared with a state average of 26.0%.

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.

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