Los Alamos County, New Mexico, a community sitting in the mountains roughly 35 miles from Santa Fe, clocked in as the healthiest community in America for the third year in a row, according to a recent report from U.S. News and CVS Health.
This year's Healthiest Communities rankings are based on an evaluation of 3,000 communities nationwide across dozens of health and health-related metrics in categories such as education, infrastructure and population health. For the first time, it also explores factors related to natural disasters and climate equity.
Staff works in the pharmacy at the new CVS Pharmacy on May 30, 2017 in Parker, Colorado. The Parker location is the first standalone CVS location in Colorado. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
The data, according to U.S. News editor and chief content officer Kim Castro, "provides a deep dive into the state of health equity in our country."
In "examining data on natural hazards, we can see how various demographic populations are affected by the risks tied to their environment," Castro said.
The data also helps CVS "determine the best way to collaborate with communities to develop sustainable solutions and advance health equity in a way that meets their unique needs," CVS Health Chief Health Equity Officer Joneigh Khaldun said.
The health care company launched an initiative earlier this year, dubbed Health Zones, which works to provide "concentrated local investments designed to reduce health disparities and advance health equity in under-resourced communities," according to the report.
The recent data from the Healthiest Communities rankings revealed that four of the top 20 healthiest communities are located in Northern Virginia. However, communities within Rhode Island, Minnesota and Iowa, had the highest median overall scores, according to the analysis. The data also showed that communities with the lowest scores were found in Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas.
According to the analysis, communities with lower scores in the Mental Health subcategory typically have lower life expectancies, median household incomes and labor force participation. Those communities also typically have higher rates of poverty.
In fact, rural communities "are more likely to have higher shares of adults reporting frequent mental distress" while urban communities will likely "have higher shares of Medicare beneficiaries diagnosed with depression," according to the report.
Here are the top ten healthiest communities across the nation, according to the report:
- Los Alamos County, New Mexico
- Falls Church, Virginia
- Douglas County, Colorado
- Morgan County, Utah
- Carver County, Minnesota
- Sioux County, Iowa
- Ozaukee County, Wisconsin
- Hamilton County, Indiana
- Broomfield County, Colorado
- Delaware County, Ohio
Here are the top five communities for access to health care:
- Olmsted County, Minnesota
- Suffolk County, Massachusetts
- Johnson County, Iowa
- Montour County, Pennsylvania
- Salem, Virginia
Here are the top five communities for mental health:
- Fairfax County, Virginia
- Santa Clara County, California
- San Mateo County, California
- Honolulu County, Hawaii
- Pitkin County, Colorado