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Most and least healthy states in America

  • #10. Colorado

    - Cancer deaths: 163.1 per 100,000 people (Rank: #3 best; 13.8% above national average)
    - Excessive drinking: 20.8% of adults (Rank: #9 worst; 14.3% below national average)
    - Drug deaths: 16.6 per 100,000 people (Rank: #20 best; 13.5% above national average)
    - Infant mortality: 4.7 deaths per 1,000 live births (Rank: #8 best; 19.0% above national average)
    - Public health funding: $101 per person (Rank: #19 best; 16.1% above national average)
    - Most healthy trait: Mental health providers (356.4 per 100,000 people; Rank: #11 best; 44.1% above national average)
    - Least healthy trait: Disparity in health status (37.6% point difference; Rank: #1 worst; 36.2% above national average)

    Colorado has never been lower than the top 15 healthy states, thanks in part to low obesity, poverty, and cancer death rates. Smoking rates are continually decreasing as well, as are infant mortality rates. Mental health continues to be a strong focus in the state; in December 2018 an $800,000 grant supplied mental health kits to schools around Colorado.

  • #9. Washington

    - Cancer deaths: 184.7 per 100,000 people (Rank: #16 best; 2.4% above national average)
    - Excessive drinking: 16.5% of adults (Rank: #14 best; 9.3% above national average)
    - Drug deaths: 15.2 per 100,000 people (Rank: #16 best; 20.8% above national average)
    - Infant mortality: 4.1 deaths per 1,000 live births (Rank: #4 best; 29.3% above national average)
    - Public health funding: $96 per person (Rank: #23 best; 10.3% above national average)
    - Most healthy trait: Mental health providers (373.3 per 100,000 people; Rank: #10 best; 50.9% above national average)
    - Least healthy trait: Disparity in health status (31.1% point difference; Rank: #8 worst; 12.7% above national average)

    Washingtonians can bank on low premature death rates, a low rate of physical inactivity, and more normal birth weights than other states. But Washington is facing increasing worksite fatalities, jumps in chlamydia and mental distress, and decreasing immunization rates.

  • #8. New Jersey

    - Cancer deaths: 180.4 per 100,000 people (Rank: #12 best; 4.7% above national average)
    - Excessive drinking: 15.2% of adults (Rank: #7 best; 16.5% above national average)
    - Drug deaths: 22.8 per 100,000 people (Rank: #17 worst; 18.8% below national average)
    - Infant mortality: 4.3 deaths per 1,000 live births (Rank: #6 best; 25.9% above national average)
    - Public health funding: $66 per person (Rank: #13 worst; 24.1% below national average)
    - Most healthy trait: Violent crime (208 offenses per 100,000 people; Rank: #6 best; 45.4% below national average)
    - Least healthy trait: Public health funding

    Although New Jersey has low public health funding and poor air quality, the state continues to jump nearly every year in the healthy state rankings. Residents currently enjoy an ample amount of dentists, low infant mortality rates, and declining cancer death rates.

  • #7. Minnesota

    - Cancer deaths: 181.8 per 100,000 people (Rank: #14 best; 4.0% above national average)
    - Excessive drinking: 21.8% of adults (Rank: #7 worst; 19.8% below national average)
    - Drug deaths: 12.1 per 100,000 people (Rank: #7 best; 37.0% above national average)
    - Infant mortality: 4.9 deaths per 1,000 live births (Rank: #11 best; 15.5% above national average)
    - Public health funding: $85 per person (Rank: #22 worst; 2.3% below national average)
    - Most healthy trait: Uninsured (4.4% of people; Rank: #4 best; 50.0% below national average)
    - Least healthy trait: Excessive drinking

    In 2018, Minnesota hit its lowest ranking yet in the tracked metrics for the healthiest state. The drop is due to increases in obesity—though only in adults, as the obesity rate in Minnesota children is decreasing—drug deaths, infant mortality rates, and low immunization rates.

  • #6. New Hampshire

    - Cancer deaths: 192.3 per 100,000 people (Rank: #23 worst; 1.6% below national average)
    - Excessive drinking: 18.3% of adults (Rank: #24 worst; 0.5% below national average)
    - Drug deaths: 35.2 per 100,000 people (Rank: #3 worst; 83.3% below national average)
    - Infant mortality: 3.9 deaths per 1,000 live births (Rank: #2 best; 32.8% above national average)
    - Public health funding: $82 per person (Rank: #20 worst; 5.7% below national average)
    - Most healthy trait: Violent crime (173 offenses per 100,000 people; Rank: #3 best; 54.6% below national average)
    - Least healthy trait: Drug deaths

    New Hampshire doesn't have the best funded public health system, but it does offer all the traditional services a state should provide like food stamps, Medicaid, and programs for women and children. Drugs continue to be a problem, as the state ranks among the top five rates for opioid-related deaths.

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  • #5. Utah

    - Cancer deaths: 149.8 per 100,000 people (Rank: #1 best; 20.9% above national average)
    - Excessive drinking: 11.3% of adults (Rank: #1 best; 37.9% above national average)
    - Drug deaths: 23 per 100,000 people (Rank: #16 worst; 19.8% below national average)
    - Infant mortality: 5.6 deaths per 1,000 live births (Rank: #16 best; 3.4% above national average)
    - Public health funding: $80 per person (Rank: #18 worst; 8.0% below national average)
    - Most healthy trait: Children in poverty (9.5% of children aged 0 to 17; Rank: #1 best; 47.2% below national average)
    - Least healthy trait: Primary care physicians (102 number per 100,000 people; Rank: #2 worst; 36.1% below national average)

    Utah can attribute a number of healthy habits keeping it in the top 10, like low rates of smoking, poverty, physical distress, and diabetes. But the state still has to contend with a few challenges, like a lack of primary care doctors, low immunization rates, and an increasing amount of cancer deaths.

  • #4. Connecticut

    - Cancer deaths: 174.2 per 100,000 people (Rank: #8 best; 8.0% above national average)
    - Excessive drinking: 19% of adults (Rank: #16 worst; 4.4% below national average)
    - Drug deaths: 26.4 per 100,000 people (Rank: #11 worst; 37.5% below national average)
    - Infant mortality: 4.7 deaths per 1,000 live births (Rank: #8 best; 19.0% above national average)
    - Public health funding: $86 per person (Rank: #23 worst; 1.1% below national average)
    - Most healthy trait: Mental health providers (396.9 per 100,000 people; Rank: #8 best; 60.4% above national average)
    - Least healthy trait: Drug deaths

    Just 5.3% of Connecticut residents are uninsured. Democrats in May 2019 unveiled a health care proposal to start in 2022 that they claim could save residents up to 20% on coverage.

  • #3. Hawaii

    - Cancer deaths: 159.1 per 100,000 people (Rank: #2 best; 16.0% above national average)
    - Excessive drinking: 21.3% of adults (Rank: #8 worst; 17.0% below national average)
    - Drug deaths: 13.3 per 100,000 people (Rank: #12 best; 30.7% above national average)
    - Infant mortality: 5.7 deaths per 1,000 live births (Rank: #19 best; 1.7% above national average)
    - Public health funding: $192 per person (Rank: #3 best; 120.7% above national average)
    - Most healthy trait: Public health funding
    - Least healthy trait: Salmonella (19.7 cases per 100,000 people; Rank: #13 worst; 18.0% above national average)

    Since 2012, Hawaii has been the top-ranked state for all but one year (2017). The state still has to contend with heavy drinking, low immunization rates, and steadily increasing diabetes rates. But residents can thank the strong public health system, and low rates of obesity, air pollution, and mental distress for their unmatched state of living.

  • #2. Massachusetts

    - Cancer deaths: 182.6 per 100,000 people (Rank: #15 best; 3.5% above national average)
    - Excessive drinking: 22.4% of adults (Rank: #5 worst; 23.1% below national average)
    - Drug deaths: 29.3 per 100,000 people (Rank: #8 worst; 52.6% below national average)
    - Infant mortality: 3.8 deaths per 1,000 live births (Rank: #1 best; 34.5% above national average)
    - Public health funding: $137 per person (Rank: #9 best; 57.5% above national average)
    - Most healthy trait: Mental health providers (626.6 per 100,000 people; Rank: #1 best; 153.3% above national average)
    - Least healthy trait: Drug deaths

    In 2017, Massachusetts actually held the top spot on the list but was knocked down because of increasing obesity, excessive drinking, and drug deaths. Massachusetts residents still have one of the longest life expectancies of any other state.

  • #1. Vermont

    - Cancer deaths: 197 per 100,000 people (Rank: #18 worst; 4.1% below national average)
    - Excessive drinking: 18.5% of adults (Rank: #21 worst; 1.6% below national average)
    - Drug deaths: 19.9 per 100,000 people (Rank: #24 worst; 3.6% below national average)
    - Infant mortality: 4 deaths per 1,000 live births (Rank: #3 best; 31.0% above national average)
    - Public health funding: $144 per person (Rank: #6 best; 65.5% above national average)
    - Most healthy trait: Mental health providers (452.3 per 100,000 people; Rank: #4 best; 82.8% above national average)
    - Least healthy trait: Dentists (56.8 per 100,000 people; Rank: #22 best; 6.9% below national average)

    Vermont's public health system doesn't just offer the basics, but also a robust schedule of healthy habit-related events and workshops. The state enjoys low infant mortality rates, high insurance coverage, and low levels of violent crime. The Vermont government reported that from 1997 to 2014, crime decreased by about 24% and continues to drop.

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