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Most and least healthy states in America

  • #30. Delaware

    - Cancer deaths: 201.3 per 100,000 people (Rank: #14 worst; 6.3% below national average)
    - Excessive drinking: 18.1% of adults (Rank: #25 best; 0.5% above national average)
    - Drug deaths: 29.2 per 100,000 people (Rank: #9 worst; 52.1% below national average)
    - Infant mortality: 7.3 deaths per 1,000 live births (Rank: #10 worst; 25.9% below national average)
    - Public health funding: $111 per person (Rank: #16 best; 27.6% above national average)
    - Most healthy trait: Uninsured (5.7% of people; Rank: #13 best; 35.2% below national average)
    - Least healthy trait: Drug deaths

    Delaware has made healthy strides over the past decade, seeing a decrease in excessive drinking, air pollution, and cancer deaths, plus a rise in mental health professionals. Unfortunately, low rates of available dentists, high infant mortality, and a lot of physical inactivity bring the state's ranking down. Delaware is one of the few states that requires a dental residency; early in 2018, the government considered dropping the mandate to encourage more dentists to move there.

  • #29. Kansas

    - Cancer deaths: 194.7 per 100,000 people (Rank: #22 worst; 2.9% below national average)
    - Excessive drinking: 17.1% of adults (Rank: #20 best; 6.0% above national average)
    - Drug deaths: 11.6 per 100,000 people (Rank: #6 best; 39.6% above national average)
    - Infant mortality: 6 deaths per 1,000 live births (Rank: #25 worst; 3.4% below national average)
    - Public health funding: $60 per person (Rank: #11 worst; 31.0% below national average)
    - Most healthy trait: Drug deaths
    - Least healthy trait: Public health funding

    At its height in 1991, Kansas ranked as the eighth-healthiest state in the country. But an increase in excessive drinking, chlamydia cases, cancer deaths, mental distress, and physical inactivity combined with low public health funding and low immunization rates, have caused Kansas to fall in the rankings nearly every year since.

  • #28. Pennsylvania

    - Cancer deaths: 200.2 per 100,000 people (Rank: #16 worst; 5.8% below national average)
    - Excessive drinking: 18.6% of adults (Rank: #20 worst; 2.2% below national average)
    - Drug deaths: 35.1 per 100,000 people (Rank: #4 worst; 82.8% below national average)
    - Infant mortality: 6.1 deaths per 1,000 live births (Rank: #23 worst; 5.2% below national average)
    - Public health funding: $57 per person (Rank: #7 worst; 34.5% below national average)
    - Most healthy trait: Uninsured (5.5% of people; Rank: #9 best; 37.5% below national average)
    - Least healthy trait: Drug deaths

    Pennsylvania faces hefty challenges with air pollution and frequent physical distress among residents, plus an increasing rate of drug deaths. The state recently introduced a referral program for people struggling through addiction. Pennsylvania does rank fairly high in the U.S. for the rate of residents with health insurance.

  • #27. Alaska

    - Cancer deaths: 185.4 per 100,000 people (Rank: #18 best; 2.1% above national average)
    - Excessive drinking: 17.7% of adults (Rank: #24 best; 2.7% above national average)
    - Drug deaths: 17.6 per 100,000 people (Rank: #22 best; 8.3% above national average)
    - Infant mortality: 5.5 deaths per 1,000 live births (Rank: #15 best; 5.2% above national average)
    - Public health funding: $281 per person (Rank: #1 best; 223.0% above national average)
    - Most healthy trait: Public health funding
    - Least healthy trait: Violent crime (885 offenses per 100,000 people; Rank: #1 worst; 132.3% above national average)

    Alaska tops the country with high public health funding, providing resources for both new settlers and longtime residents. But the state struggles with rapidly increasing cases of physical distress, occupational fatalities, violent crime (which is already at the highest rate in the U.S.), and drug-related deaths.

  • #26. Illinois

    - Cancer deaths: 198.7 per 100,000 people (Rank: #17 worst; 5.0% below national average)
    - Excessive drinking: 20.4% of adults (Rank: #10 worst; 12.1% below national average)
    - Drug deaths: 18.1 per 100,000 people (Rank: #24 best; 5.7% above national average)
    - Infant mortality: 6.2 deaths per 1,000 live births (Rank: #20 worst; 6.9% below national average)
    - Public health funding: $73 per person (Rank: #14 worst; 16.1% below national average)
    - Most healthy trait: Uninsured (6.9% of people; Rank: #19 best; 21.6% below national average)
    - Least healthy trait: Public health funding

    Thanks to high levels of immunizations—helped along by the state actively making it difficult for children to skip vaccines—low mental distress, and an ample amount of primary care doctors, Illinois has been climbing the rankings recently. The state does face challenges with high air pollution, excessive drinking, and increasing obesity.

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  • #25. South Dakota

    - Cancer deaths: 188.9 per 100,000 people (Rank: #22 best; 0.2% above national average)
    - Excessive drinking: 23.2% of adults (Rank: #3 worst; 27.5% below national average)
    - Drug deaths: 8.4 per 100,000 people (Rank: #2 best; 56.3% above national average)
    - Infant mortality: 6.3 deaths per 1,000 live births (Rank: #19 worst; 8.6% below national average)
    - Public health funding: $113 per person (Rank: #13 best; 29.9% above national average)
    - Most healthy trait: Drug deaths
    - Least healthy trait: Salmonella (25.9 cases per 100,000 people; Rank: #4 worst; 55.1% above national average)

    For people in South Dakota struggling with a lack of health insurance, the state offers an array of programs, including a special office specifically for residents in rural areas. Smoking, obesity, and cardiovascular deaths remain issues statewide.

  • #24. Montana

    - Cancer deaths: 185.4 per 100,000 people (Rank: #18 best; 2.1% above national average)
    - Excessive drinking: 20.1% of adults (Rank: #11 worst; 10.4% below national average)
    - Drug deaths: 12.4 per 100,000 people (Rank: #10 best; 35.4% above national average)
    - Infant mortality: 5.6 deaths per 1,000 live births (Rank: #16 best; 3.4% above national average)
    - Public health funding: $120 per person (Rank: #10 best; 37.9% above national average)
    - Most healthy trait: Public health funding
    - Least healthy trait: Primary care physicians (116 number per 100,000 people; Rank: #7 worst; 27.3% below national average)

    Montana enjoys a few above-average healthy traits, like a low death rate from drugs, low obesity, and a decrease in smoking. The state has its challenges though, including low immunization rates, a lack of primary care physicians, and a high rate of excessive drinking.

  • #23. Wisconsin

    - Cancer deaths: 190.4 per 100,000 people (Rank: #25 best; 0.6% below national average)
    - Excessive drinking: 25% of adults (Rank: #1 worst; 37.4% below national average)
    - Drug deaths: 18.3 per 100,000 people (Rank: #25 best; 4.7% above national average)
    - Infant mortality: 6.4 deaths per 1,000 live births (Rank: #18 worst; 10.3% below national average)
    - Public health funding: $55 per person (Rank: #5 worst; 36.8% below national average)
    - Most healthy trait: Uninsured (5.5% of people; Rank: #9 best; 37.5% below national average)
    - Least healthy trait: Excessive drinking

    Wisconsin's low public health funding includes strict limits on what counties patients can visit doctors in, which does not help a state facing increasing rates of obesity, premature death, and high levels of excessive drinking—a 2019 study showed that Wisconsinites drink more than any other state. In some good news, air pollution and poverty are decreasing.

  • #22. Oregon

    - Cancer deaths: 190.6 per 100,000 people (Rank: #25 worst; 0.7% below national average)
    - Excessive drinking: 18.4% of adults (Rank: #23 worst; 1.1% below national average)
    - Drug deaths: 12.4 per 100,000 people (Rank: #10 best; 35.4% above national average)
    - Infant mortality: 5 deaths per 1,000 live births (Rank: #12 best; 13.8% above national average)
    - Public health funding: $81 per person (Rank: #19 worst; 6.9% below national average)
    - Most healthy trait: Mental health providers (522.3 per 100,000 people; Rank: #2 best; 111.1% above national average)
    - Least healthy trait: Frequent physical distress (15.6% of adults; Rank: #4 worst; 30.0% above national average)

    Oregon has a stout public health program that includes everything from laboratory services and vaccines to medical marijuana and food stamps. Smoking and poverty have both decreased, and immunization rates increased. Marijuana usage in the state may end up being a bit of a concern at some point, though, as in the first year it was legalized, drivers under the influence more than doubled.

  • #21. Maine

    - Cancer deaths: 209.3 per 100,000 people (Rank: #11 worst; 10.6% below national average)
    - Excessive drinking: 19.4% of adults (Rank: #13 worst; 6.6% below national average)
    - Drug deaths: 27 per 100,000 people (Rank: #10 worst; 40.6% below national average)
    - Infant mortality: 5.8 deaths per 1,000 live births (Rank: #21 best; 0.0% below national average)
    - Public health funding: $99 per person (Rank: #20 best; 13.8% above national average)
    - Most healthy trait: Mental health providers (474.6 per 100,000 people; Rank: #3 best; 91.8% above national average)
    - Least healthy trait: Drug deaths

    Maine couples low violent crime and smoking rates with high levels of immunizations and an excellent public health care system. The state provides resources for every stage of life, as well as real-time data on a number of health concerns, including tick-borne diseases.

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