March 26, 2019

The 10 healthiest communities in America, according to US News

Daily Briefing

    Douglas County, Colorado, is the healthiest community in the United States, according to U.S. News & World Report's 2019 Healthiest Communities Rankings.

    Methodology

    For the rankings, U.S. News and the Aetna Foundation evaluated and scored around 3,000 U.S. counties and county equivalents in 10 categories that the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics considers to be key factors in community health:

    • Population health, weighted 14.2%;
    • Equity, weighted 12.23%;
    • Education, weighted 12.15%;
    • Economy, weighted 11.1%;
    • Housing, weighted 9.5%;
    • Food & nutrition, weighted 8.8%;
    • Environment, weighted 8.6%;
    • Public safety, weighted 8.5%.
    • Community vitality, weighted 7.6%; and
    • Infrastructure, weighted 7.5%.

    Each county was scored on a scale of zero to 100 in each of the 10 categories. To calculate the overall score for each county, researchers took a weighted average of the subcategories, calculated in consultation with industry experts. Researchers used that score to identify the top 500 healthiest communities.

    The healthiest communities in the US

    The top 10 healthiest communities in the United States, according to U.S. News, are:

    1. Douglas County, Colorado;
    2. Los Alamos County, New Mexico;
    3. Falls Church, Virginia;
    4. Loudoun County, Virginia;
    5. Broomfield County, Colorado;
    6. Teton County, Wyoming;
    7. Hamilton County, Indiana;
    8. Carver County, Minnesota;
    9. Delaware County, Ohio; and
    10. Howard County, Maryland.

    For complete rankings, including a list of the 500 healthiest communities in the United States, click here.

    Iowa had the most counties in the rankings overall, with 62 counties in the top 500. Meanwhile, Colorado counties had the highest average scores in the United States, with seven counties in Colorado ranking in the top 20.

    Overall, counties that scored among the top 25% had the highest average scores in housing quality, low environmental hazards, and health outcomes. The counties that scored in the bottom 25% typically had lower average scores in Education, Economy, and Food & Nutrition (U.S. News & World Report "Healthiest Communities 2019," accessed 3/26; U.S. News & World Report release, 3/26; U.S. News & World Report methodology, 3/26; U.S. News & World Report Data Insights, 3/26).

    Next: Get 10 tools for prioritizing community health interventions

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    This toolkit outlines four steps for focusing on the highest return community health needs: Define core measures, prioritize key activities, create formal partnership compacts, and evaluate performance of community-based interventions. Each step is supported by sample resources including surveys, prioritization tools, and metric pick lists.

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