The third annual Healthiest Communities rankings came out last month which rated all the major factors contributing to the physical and mental health of locations across America.
Los Alamos County, New Mexico turned out to be the healthiest community in the U.S., according to the extensive research underwritten by the Aetna Foundation, with research by U.S. News and World Report that examined nearly 3,000 locations across the country on dozens of factors that shape community health and well-being,
Los Alamos received a perfect score for measurements including drinking water quality, affordable housing availability, park access, and number of college educated citizens.
Perhaps most notably, Colorado grabbed 6 of the top 10 spots. Three counties in Colorado ranked in the top five, including Douglas County (2nd), Broomfield County (fourth), and Routt County (5th). Falls Church, Virginia was ranked third most healthy.
They all scored above the national average in at least eight of the 10 categories—Education, Equity, Economy, Population Health, Housing, Food & Nutrition, Public Safety Infrastructure, Environment, and Community Vitality.
The project serves as a tool to inform residents, community health leaders and elected officials about policies and best practices for better health outcomes by assessing which communities offer their citizens the greatest opportunity to live a productive, healthy life.
The analysis of 84 metrics of well-being seemed to parallel how well a county was doing during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well. The No.1 ranked community, Los Alamos County, had seen just 124 cases per 100,000 residents by late August, compared with a national average more than 10 times that rate.
Based on information from sources such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the data come from a period predating the pandemic.
This year, new measures explored medical debt, census self-response rates, and eviction rates within communities.
Top 10 Healthiest Communities Overall
Los Alamos County, New Mexico
Douglas County, Colorado
Falls Church, Virginia
Broomfield County, Colorado
Routt County, Colorado
Loudoun County, Virginia
Pitkin County, Colorado
Carver County, Minnesota
Summit County, Colorado
San Miguel County Colorado
Top 5 Communities for Good Health Outcomes
San Juan County, Washington
Marin County, California
Carver County, Minnesota
Cedar County, Nebraska
Winneshiek County, Iowa
Top 5 Communities for Access to Health Care
Olmstead County, Minnesota
Suffolk County, Massachusetts
Johnson County, Iowa
Perry County, Kentucky
District of Columbia
Honolulu County, Hawaii, ranked No. 1 for the mental health category, which assessed deaths from suicide, alcohol or drugs, the rate of depression among Medicare beneficiaries and the number of poor mental health days per month
Top 5 Communities for Mental Health
Honolulu County, Hawaii
Tripp County, South Dakota
Pembina County, North Dakota
Sutton County, Texas
Hartley County, Texas