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Healthiest cities in America

  • Healthiest cities in America

    It’s undeniable: Health is certainly on the minds of many Americans this time of year. With the start of each year comes the commitment from many of us to move more, eat less, and generally embrace a healthier lifestyle. According to a survey from Inc., about 71% of Americans have set out to eat healthier in 2020 while 65% want to exercise more. Another 54% want to lose weight. Twenty-one percent want to quit smoking, and 15% want to drink less.

    But while it’s one thing to embrace a healthy mindset, it’s another to actually stick to it. Where you live plays an important role in reaching and maintaining your health goals. It’s a lot easier when your entire community is committed to living healthy with you. The route to healthy living involves many factors, such as outdoor space, work/life balance, weather conditions, access to education—and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Where we live can have a huge impact on our choices and overall health.

    Believe it or not, there are dozens of cities in America where you can not only make health-conscious New Year’s resolutions, but you might actually stick to them, too. Personal practice requires a lot of discipline, but it’s not so difficult to stay motivated when your friends, family, and neighbors are right there with you.

    To determine the most health-conscious cities, Stacker looked to Niche's 2019 Healthiest Places to Live rankings, which take into account factors such as smoking, regular alcohol consumption, access to gyms, physicians and mental health professionals, and obesity rates to rank overall health. For each city, we've included Niche's data on public schools and overall health grades. Surprisingly (or, rather, unsurprisingly), 21 of the 50 cities are in California.

    Did your city make the cut? Read on to see. If not, consider this a comprehensive guide to finding a city that suits your “new year, new you” needs.

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  • #50. Colorado Springs, Colorado

    - Population: 450,000
    - Overall Niche grade: A-
    --- Public schools grade: B
    --- Health grade: A

    What makes Colorado Springs such a healthy place to live? A sheer abundance of things to do outdoors. Colorado Springs has over 9,000 acres of parkland and 500 acres of trails, including sites like the Garden of the Gods and Manitou Incline Trail. Many other natural areas of the city include forests, canyons, streams, grasslands, and mesas. It’s a city marked by stunning natural beauty, and it has a relatively low population at just under half a million people, which translates to a good ratio of people to outdoor space.

  • #49. Boston, Massachusetts

    - Population: 669,158
    - Overall Niche grade: A-
    --- Public schools grade: C
    --- Health grade: A

    At nearly 400 years old, Boston is one of America's greatest historic cities. It also ranks as the 49th healthiest place to live in America. While Boston didn't score stellar marks in public schools and housing, it absolutely aced the nightlife and diversity categories. In fact, over the last 40 years, Boston has transformed. In the 1970s, the city was about 70% white. Today, white people make up less than half of the city's population. Boston is also a demographically young city, with the highest proportion of 20 to 34-year-olds among the 25 largest cities in the country. Boston’s residents are also highly educated, which often translates to better health. The proportion of college-educated residents in Boston is 86.1%.

  • #48. Ann Arbor, Michigan

    - Population: 119,303
    - Overall Niche grade: A+
    --- Public schools grade: A+
    --- Health grade: A

    Just 45 minutes from Detroit sits this small college town that consistently earns accolades as being one of the best places to live in the United States. The pocket-sized town of just 119,303 residents is teeming with restaurants, coffee shops, and green space. It earns perfect and near-perfect scores for quality of living categories like public schools, diversity, healthcare, and more. It is home to the University of Michigan, which is one of only three public institutions in the country that are included in the top 21 of the 2020 Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

  • #47. Paradise, Nevada

    - Population: 231,858
    - Overall Niche grade: A-
    --- Public schools grade: C+
    --- Health grade: A

    Paradise, Nevada has stellar marks for weather and outdoor activities, so it's no surprise that health and fitness would also earn this city a near-perfect score. Seeing as Paradise is right next door to Las Vegas, nightlife and entertainment options abound. It's also one of the most diverse places in the country to live.

  • #46. Richardson, Texas

    - Population: 111,055
    - Overall Niche grade: A+
    --- Public schools grade: A
    --- Health grade: A

    A booming tech economy and rising Millennial population is keeping this Dallas suburb young. Because of the youthful energy being pumped into the city, there’s always something to do, from bars and restaurants to outdoor activities like breaking a sweat on the Richardson Trail System, which has over 40 miles of trails. There are also beautiful waterfalls to be discovered at Prairie Creek Park. The city also has the fourth most diverse school district in Texas.

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  • #45. Atlanta, Georgia

    - Population: 465,230
    - Overall Niche grade: A
    --- Public schools grade: C+
    --- Health grade: A

    A relatively low cost of living and an income median that is higher than the national median is pulling young residents to Atlanta in droves. The largest age group in Atlanta is the Millennials, with 20% of the city comprising people 25- 34-years-old. It turns out millennials see Atlanta as the number two city in the nation for value. A recent survey from The Langston Co. ranked metropolitan cities by more than 40 different categories spanning culture and career to climate, taxes, salary, schools, etc. Atlanta was praised for its culture, people, food, job opportunities, and cost of living.

  • #44. Lincoln, Nebraska

    - Population: 277,315
    - Overall Niche grade: A
    --- Public schools grade: A-
    --- Health grade: A

    Families looking to settle down may want to consider Lincoln, Nebraska. Not only did it score big with outdoor activities and health and fitness, but it has one of the best-rated school systems in the country. There are roughly 40,000 students enrolled throughout Lincoln Public Schools, with a student-teacher ratio of 13 to 1. This is better than the national average teacher to student ratio, which is 16 to 1.

  • #43. Provo, Utah

    - Population: 116,199
    - Overall Niche grade: A-
    --- Public schools grade: B+
    --- Health grade: A

    For health-conscious living, Provo, Utah is coming in hot. In 2014, Gallup ranked Provo as one of the healthiest places to live in America with a Well-Being Index score of 71.4. On top of that, Provo has a low crime rate, top-rated education, and affordable housing.

  • #42. Anaheim, California

    - Population: 349,007
    - Overall Niche grade: B-
    --- Public schools grade: B-
    --- Health grade: A

    For eating healthy and reducing stress, Anaheim, California is topping the charts. According to House Method, which ranked the 100 largest cities in the U.S. on common New Year's resolutions, Anaheim came in first for eating healthy and reducing stress. It was fourth for exercise.

  • #41. Lakewood, Colorado

    - Population: 151,411
    - Overall Niche grade: A-
    --- Public schools grade: A-
    --- Health grade: A

    Lakewood, Colorado boasts a parcel of enviable real estate, being just a quick drive from the Rocky Mountains, as well as a stone’s throw from Downtown Denver. It used to be the case that people lived in Lakewood and would commute to Denver for work. Today, Lakewood has become a thriving nucleus of opportunity all its own, with a highly rated public school system and an unemployment rate of just 2.4%, which is below the national average.

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