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Los Alamos, New Mexico ranked the healthiest community in the country

For the second year in a row, Los Alamos County, New Mexico – famed as the birthplace of the atomic bomb – tops the list as the healthiest community in the nation.   

The small New Mexico county was crowned the healthiest community by U.S. News and World, which assessed nearly 3,000 county and county equivalents in 84 metrics across 10 key categories, including population health, public safety, equity, food and nutrition, and infrastructure for it’s Healthiest Communities project  

The project is meant to explores how communities across the country are working to improve the health of their residents, and provides residents and policymakers data that can lead to better health outcomes.    

U.S. News collaborated with the University of Missouri Extension Center for Applied Research and Engagement Systems (CARES) – a research institution skilled in understanding natural resource systems, public health risks and community health assessment – to collect and analyze data and county-level data were collected from well-recognized and validated sources including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Census Bureau, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.    

Below are the Healthiest Communities Ranking of 2021:

1. Los Alamos, New Mexico  

Los Alamos, New Mexico sits in proximity to federal lands including the Valles Caldera National Preserve

Los Alamos is most famous for being the birthplace of the atomic bomb during World War II

Los Alamos is most famous for being the birthplace of the atomic bomb during World War II 

With a population of just over 12,000 people and located on a plateau in the mountains, Los Alamos County is among the smallest counties by area in New Mexico. 

The town is most famous for being the birthplace of the atomic bomb. J. Robert Oppenheimer developed the bomb at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) as part of Project Y during World War II.

The county sits in proximity to federal lands including the Valles Caldera National Preserve. 

Listed as an urban, high-performing economy community, Los Alamos got an overall score of 100 and performed best in housing, population health and infrastructure. 

Residents of Los Alamos have an 83.4 year life expectancy, compared to the national median of 77.5 and an 89 percent high school graduation rate, just about matching the national median of 89.3%

The median household income in Los Alamos is $121,324, well above the national median of $51,758.

2. Douglas County, Colorado

Located between Denver and Colorado Springs, Douglas County is part of the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colorado, metropolitan statistical area. The county of 351,154 people contains multiple state and regional parks, including the 4,000- acre Roxborough State Park. 

Listed as an urban, high-performing economy community, Douglas County got an overall score of 98.6 and performed best in economy, infrastructure, and population health.   

66.3% of the population has an advanced degree, compared to the national median on 29.8% and the county has a 2.3% unemployment rate, compared to the national median of 3.7%

100% of the county population has access to broadband, compared to the national median of 92.4%   

3. Falls Church City, Virginia  

With a population of 14,617 Falls Church City is located less than 10 miles from the White House and witnessed many of the nation’s most historic moments, including the reading of a copy of the Declaration of Independence from the steps of The Falls Church, the city’s namesake, in 1776.

Falls Church broke off from Fairfax County to become an independent city in 1948, enjoying county-level status under state law.

Listed as an urban, high-performing economy community, Falls Church earned an overall score of 95.0 and performed best in population health, education and economy. 

Only 4% of the economy is without health insurance, compared to the national median of 10.6% and  has a 3.2% poverty rate compared to the national median of 14.2%

4. Loudoun County, Virginia

Loudon County is situated in the state¿s northern corridor where Virginia meets West Virginia and Maryland

Loudon County is situated in the state’s northern corridor where Virginia meets West Virginia and Maryland

Once a largely agrarian community, the 516 square-mile county is now one of Virginia’s wealthiest and most populous counties.  

Loudon County is situated in the state’s northern corridor where Virginia meets West Virginia and Maryland. 

Listed as an urban, high performing economy community, Loudoun County got an overall score of 93.7 and performed best in economy, population health and education. 

Only 6.9% of the population has no health insurance, compared to the national median of 10.6% and  the per-pupil expenditures totaled $17,349 compared to the national median of $12,523

5. Broomfield County, Colorado 

Located between Denver and Boulder in central Colorado, Broomfield County has a total population of 70,465

Located between Denver and Boulder in central Colorado, Broomfield County has a total population of 70,465

Located between Denver and Boulder in central Colorado, the city and county of Broomfield has dozens of parks, more than 250 miles of walking and biking trails, and thousands of acres of open space, according to usnews.com 

The 33 square-mile county has a total population of 70,465.

Listed as urban, high performing economy community, Broomfield County got an overall score of 92.6 and performed best in infrastructure, economy and population health.  

7.3% of workers commute 60 minutes or more compared to the national median of 6.8% and the county has a 12.5% smoking rate compared to the national median of 21.1%

 6. San Miguel County, Colorado 

San Miguel County is named for the river of the same name and has a population of 8,179.

Listed as a rural, high performing economy, the county got an overall score of 89.2 and performed best in food and nutrition and environment infrastructure. 

The life expectancy in San Miguel County was 104.7 years, compared to the national median on 77.5 years and the voter participation rate was 83.8% compared to the national median of 66%  

7. Pitkin County, Colorado 

With a population of 17,767 

Pitkin County is listed as a rural, high performing economy community with an overall score of 88.2 and performed best in environment, population health and infrastructure. 

4.7% of workers commute 60 minutes or more compared to the national median of 6.8% and 11.7% of the population has no health insurance compared to the national median of 10.6%

8. Howard County, Maryland 

Howard County is listed as a urban, high-performing economy community with an overall score of 88.09 and performed best in economy, education and population health

Howard County is listed as a urban, high-performing economy community with an overall score of 88.09 and performed best in economy, education and population health

Population of 325,690

Howard County is listed as a urban, high-performing economy community with an overall score of 88.09  and performed best in economy, education and population health 

Howard county has a 92% high school graduation rate compared to the national median of 89.3% and resident have an 83.4 year life expectancy compared to the national median of 77.5 years. 

9. Morgan County, Utah 

Population of 12,124 

Morgan County is listed as a rural, high-performing economy community with an overall score of 88.06 and performed best in equity, population health and community vitality. 

The county has 7.4% diabetes prevalence compared to the national median of 10.5% 

10. Routt County, Colorado

Population of 25,638 

Routt County is listed as a rural, high-performing economy community with an overall score of 87.6 and performed best in infrastructure, environment and population health. 

The median household income is $77,443 compared to the national median of $51,758

11. Carver County, Minnesota 

Carver County, bordered on the south by the Minnesota River Valley and near the Twin Cities, offers residents access to both the state’s urban center and plentiful natural amenities and has a population of 105,089

Carver County is listed as an urban, high-performing economy community with and overall score of 87.5 and performed best in economy, education, population health   

The county has 28.3% obesity prevalence compared to the national median of 35.5%

12. Sublette County, Wyoming  

Population of 9,831

Sublette County is listed as a rural, high-performing economy and got an overall score of 86.3 and performed best in environment, equity, public safety.

The county has a 96.6% high school graduation rate compared to the national median of 89.3%

13. Teton County, Wyoming

Home to Jackson Hole, and Grand Teton National Park, Teton County has a population of 23,464 

Teton County is listed as a rural, high-performing economy community with an overall score of 86.1 and performed best in environment, infrastructure and public health. 

The life expectancy in the county is 89.5 years compared to the national median od 77.5 years.  

14.  Fairfax County, Virginia

Formed in 1742, the county is home to President George Washington’s plantation house, Mount Vernon, the most visited historic estate in the country and has a population of 1.1 million

Fairfax County is listed as an urban, high-performing economy community and got an overall score of 86.06 and performed best in population health, economy and infrastructure. 

The county has 81.7% voter participation compared to the national median of 66% 

15.  Hunterdon County, New Jersey

Population of 124,371

Hunterdon County is listed as an urban, high-performing economy community that got an overall score of 86.01 and performed best in education, economy and population health.

The county has 28% obesity prevalence compared to the national median of 35.5% 

16.  Hamilton County, Indiana

Population of 338,011 

Hamilton County is listed as an urban, high-performing economy community that got a score of 85.6 and performed best in economy, infrastructure and population health.  

The county has a 4.6% poverty rate compared to the national median of 14.2%

17.  Delaware County, Ohio

Population of 209,177 

Delaware County is listed as an urban, high-performing economy community with an overall score of 85.2 and performed best in economy, education and population health.

The county has a median household income of $106,908 compared to the national median of $51, 908 

18. Sioux County, Iowa

Population of 34,855 

Sioux County is listed as a rural, high-performing economy community that got an overall score of 85.1 and performed best in infrastructure, population health and equity.

6.6% of the county population have no health insurance compared to the national average of 10.6%

19. Ozaukee County, Wisconsin

With a population of 89,221, Ozaukee, or ‘people living at the mouth of a river’ gets its name from Native Americans who lived in the region before the first white settlers arrived in the mid-1800s.  

Ozaukee County is listed as an urban, high-performing economy community that performed best in population health, infrastructure and economy. 

The county has a 6.6% diabetes prevalence compared to the national median of 10.5%

20. Morris County, New Jersey

Morris County, New Jersey is located 30 miles northwest of New York, with a population of 41,845

Morris County, New Jersey is located 30 miles northwest of New York, with a population of 41,845

Located 30 miles northwest of New York and has a population of 41,845. 

Morris County is listed as an urban, high-performing economy community with an overall score of 84.7 and performed best in education, economy and population health. 

The county has a 94% high school graduation rate compared to the national median of 89.3%

 21. San Juan County, Washington 

Population of 17,582

San Juan County is listed as a rural, high-performing economy community that got an overall score of 84.5 and performed best in food and nutrition, community vitality and population health. 

The county has an 11.6% smoking rate compared to the national median of 21.1% 

 22. Dallas County, Iowa

Population of 93,453 

Dallas County is listed as an urban, high-performing economy community that got an overall score of 83.9 and performed best in infrastructure, economy and education. 

The county has a 5.2% poverty rate compared to the national median of 14.2%

23. Nantucket County, Massachusetts

Nantucket County, which was once one of the nation’s major whaling ports, now thrives on tourism, with its population swelling in the summer and has a population of 11,399

Nantucket County is listed as a rural, high-performing economy community that got an overall score of 83.87 and performed best in population health, public safety and education.

The county has a 70.5% home ownership rate compared to the national median of 72.9%

24.  Elbert County, Colorado 

Population of 26,729 

Elbert County is listed as a rural, high-performing economy community that got an overall score of 83.5 and performed best in community vitality, equity and economy.

The county has a 2.1% unemployment rate compared to the national median of 3.7%

25. Dukes County, Massachusetts

 Comprised of 11 islands off the Massachusetts coast and within sight of Cape Cod, the overwhelming majority of Dukes County residents live on the largest island, Martha’s Vineyard and has a population of 17,332.

Dukes County is listed as an urban, high-performing economy community that got an overall score of 83.49 and performed best in education, infrastructure, and community vitality.   

 51.4% of the population has an advanced degree compared to the national median of 29.8%


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