Where are the healthiest places to live in the United States? U.S. News & World Report and CVS Health have the answers in their fifth annual list released in June. Taking the top spot for the third year in a row is Los Alamos County, New Mexico, followed by Falls Church, Virginia; Douglas County, Colorado; Morgan County, Utah; and Carver County, Minnesota.
To determine the rankings, about 3,000 communities were assessed (and the top 500 ranked) across 10 health-related categories, including population health, equity, education, economy, housing, food & nutrition, environment, public safety, community vitality, and infrastructure. Within these categories, metrics such as access to health care, mental health, employment and income, housing affordability and quality, and transportation were analyzed.
The environment category was added this year in recognition that climate change—and its resultant droughts, floods, and wildfires—is diminishing the health of communities, with some demographic groups, notably Indigenous people, disproportionately affected.
Why is Los Alamos (overall score 100 out of 100) such a healthy place to live? For one, only 2.8 percent of the population doesn’t have health insurance (compared to the national median of 11 percent). Fewer than 10 percent of residents smoke (half the national rate). Seventy-five percent live within half a mile of a park. And life expectancy is close to 84 years (compared to 77.5 nationally). Not all is enviable in this New Mexico county, however: It ranked above the national median for number of extreme heat days (15.3 versus 10.3).
Where does your county rank? Enter your zip code here to find out. You can browse all the categories to get a pretty complete overview of the health of your community.