Adam McCann, Financial Writer
Feb 10, 2020

Location matters when it comes to health. Some places promote wellness by expanding access to nutritious food and recreational facilities. Others strive to keep healthcare costs affordable for everyone or keep parks clean and well-maintained.

When a city doesn’t take care of these issues, it can be hard to keep up good health. After all, the cost of care in the U.S. is rising and life expectancy is declining. And there are so many sources of health advice online that it can be difficult for a person to figure out what is legitimate and what is just a fad.

To determine which areas prioritize residents’ well-being, WalletHub compared more than 170 of the most populated U.S. cities across 43 key indicators of good health. Our data set ranges from cost of medical visit to fruit and vegetable consumption to fitness clubs per capita. Read on for our findings, further insight from a panel of experts and a full description of our methodology.

Main Findings

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Healthiest Places to Live in the U.S.

Overall Rank*

City

Total Score

‘Health Care’ Rank

‘Food’ Rank

‘Fitness’ Rank

‘Green Space’ Rank

1 San Francisco, CA 73.99 29 1 4 1
2 Seattle, WA 70.62 19 4 3 2
3 San Diego, CA 70.01 25 3 1 8
4 Portland, OR 65.66 61 6 16 3
5 Washington, DC 63.87 47 9 26 5
6 New York, NY 62.89 75 2 17 19
7 Denver, CO 62.10 51 15 5 16
8 Irvine, CA 62.08 2 27 11 12
9 Scottsdale, AZ 61.14 11 41 2 18
10 Chicago, IL 60.81 66 11 20 11
11 Austin, TX 60.70 40 16 15 13
12 Los Angeles, CA 60.48 72 5 9 38
13 Honolulu, HI 60.38 54 10 63 7
14 Huntington Beach, CA 60.13 8 37 7 26
15 Minneapolis, MN 59.95 5 24 60 9
16 Salt Lake City, UT 59.90 42 13 12 34
17 Burlington, VT 59.73 3 28 22 22
18 Fremont, CA 59.06 9 25 13 31
19 Boston, MA 58.83 45 18 23 17
20 San Jose, CA 58.51 15 7 21 58
21 Santa Clarita, CA 56.98 4 73 55 4
22 Atlanta, GA 56.74 89 22 6 35
23 Portland, ME 56.33 23 23 39 36
24 Glendale, CA 56.12 26 54 56 6
25 Virginia Beach, VA 55.29 7 75 32 29
26 Sacramento, CA 54.57 100 20 53 20
27 Long Beach, CA 54.48 30 31 47 32
28 Lincoln, NE 54.45 13 90 37 23
29 Orlando, FL 54.42 43 19 42 49
30 Madison, WI 54.06 12 70 45 33
31 Boise, ID 53.97 55 66 41 14
32 Philadelphia, PA 53.85 154 14 44 24
33 Tampa, FL 53.64 56 26 33 48
34 Miami, FL 53.59 73 8 62 70
35 Oakland, CA 53.48 65 12 65 57
36 Santa Rosa, CA 53.28 70 63 34 25
37 Oceanside, CA 53.24 49 68 8 113
38 Raleigh, NC 53.15 22 34 10 106
39 Pittsburgh, PA 53.06 48 21 48 59
40 Plano, TX 52.71 10 69 36 52
41 Peoria, AZ 52.59 21 106 57 10
42 Anaheim, CA 52.20 35 39 38 54
43 Richmond, VA 51.83 82 64 27 42
44 Tempe, AZ 51.36 46 52 46 68
45 Aurora, CO 51.07 36 78 28 67
46 Fort Lauderdale, FL 51.07 71 38 78 41
47 Chesapeake, VA 50.88 18 134 59 21
48 Rochester, NY 50.88 81 29 87 39
49 Rancho Cucamonga, CA 50.81 58 133 24 15
50 Phoenix, AZ 50.79 77 33 77 45
51 Las Vegas, NV 50.60 144 17 18 87
52 Vancouver, WA 50.50 79 84 14 116
53 Garden Grove, CA 50.29 41 53 70 78
54 St. Paul, MN 50.23 31 55 90 40
55 Nashua, NH 49.98 53 126 19 85
56 Overland Park, KS 49.85 1 72 101 132
57 Sioux Falls, SD 49.82 6 102 54 109
58 Yonkers, NY 49.76 34 43 102 69
59 Grand Rapids, MI 49.33 17 82 97 63
60 Chandler, AZ 49.25 27 57 29 126
61 Colorado Springs, CO 49.21 96 86 31 53
62 St. Louis, MO 49.14 109 46 40 60
63 Omaha, NE 49.10 39 61 49 83
64 Gilbert, AZ 49.04 20 94 30 92
65 Reno, NV 48.85 114 51 43 55
66 Durham, NC 48.60 16 77 66 101
67 Charleston, SC 48.52 24 101 94 46
68 Spokane, WA 48.28 117 56 73 50
69 Tacoma, WA 48.07 119 60 35 107
70 Charlotte, NC 48.01 62 49 64 89
71 Providence, RI 47.97 85 59 98 44
72 Manchester, NH 47.92 68 111 50 73
73 Fargo, ND 47.92 27 97 89 76
74 Tucson, AZ 47.90 93 47 58 77
75 Tallahassee, FL 47.72 33 114 118 30
76 Baltimore, MD 47.69 94 32 105 62
77 Chula Vista, CA 47.56 52 87 25 124
78 Missoula, MT 47.51 78 140 75 43
79 Albuquerque, NM 47.31 140 50 68 51
80 Cincinnati, OH 47.27 143 44 61 65
81 West Valley City, UT 46.94 102 30 83 157
82 Houston, TX 46.76 116 36 51 120
83 Nashville, TN 46.49 92 40 96 79
84 Pembroke Pines, FL 46.32 37 85 88 158
85 Glendale, AZ 46.15 83 98 80 56
86 Oxnard, CA 46.07 107 88 74 100
87 Cedar Rapids, IA 46.06 14 145 69 123
88 Bridgeport, CT 45.96 90 110 76 86
89 Jacksonville, FL 45.83 130 74 79 64
90 Buffalo, NY 45.79 59 76 112 72
91 St. Petersburg, FL 45.77 84 80 95 71
92 Dallas, TX 45.53 134 35 72 115
93 Wilmington, DE 45.50 103 92 139 27
94 Warwick, RI 45.50 63 83 106 127
95 Aurora, IL 45.39 32 103 111 97
96 Des Moines, IA 45.15 38 118 84 117
97 Santa Ana, CA 44.66 105 58 103 90
98 New Haven, CT 44.61 60 116 135 47
99 Worcester, MA 44.47 110 99 85 82
100 Billings, MT 44.30 57 112 124 102
101 Riverside, CA 44.15 87 107 67 110
102 Milwaukee, WI 44.09 91 67 117 96
103 San Antonio, TX 44.01 97 71 107 91
104 Mesa, AZ 43.91 74 79 71 152
105 Modesto, CA 43.72 148 113 82 66
106 Greensboro, NC 43.55 104 135 81 74
107 Jersey City, NJ 43.54 80 45 141 111
108 Rapid City, SD 42.85 67 125 123 103
109 Columbia, SC 42.56 50 115 130 150
110 Anchorage, AK 42.32 155 117 125 37
111 New Orleans, LA 42.24 172 123 129 28
112 Henderson, NV 42.24 129 127 52 118
113 Knoxville, TN 42.22 127 119 119 61
114 Fresno, CA 41.84 137 48 104 134
115 Salem, OR 41.70 111 100 136 81
116 Springfield, MO 41.24 131 137 115 75
117 Fort Worth, TX 41.23 120 95 100 136
118 Columbus, OH 41.03 121 81 142 104
119 Kansas City, MO 40.93 112 91 143 99
120 Indianapolis, IN 40.62 169 93 110 88
121 Fontana, CA 40.55 118 139 99 133
122 Norfolk, VA 40.46 88 128 138 84
123 Cheyenne, WY 40.32 64 163 113 167
124 Ontario, CA 40.31 125 131 91 154
125 Little Rock, AR 40.28 69 159 126 80
126 Lexington-Fayette, KY 40.22 44 96 154 145
127 Newport News, VA 40.12 76 141 144 93
128 Louisville, KY 40.06 136 65 140 129
129 El Paso, TX 40.01 128 108 132 108
130 Nampa, ID 39.95 156 104 86 163
131 Moreno Valley, CA 39.72 106 146 121 114
132 Cleveland, OH 39.62 159 42 161 95
133 Port St. Lucie, FL 39.59 126 121 92 169
134 Charleston, WV 39.36 101 152 133 98
135 Arlington, TX 38.69 98 132 127 143
136 Irving, TX 38.10 149 122 109 149
137 Grand Prairie, TX 37.95 122 130 153 130
138 Huntsville, AL 37.92 113 153 150 112
139 Fort Wayne, IN 37.85 142 149 108 125
140 Las Cruces, NM 37.62 86 168 114 164
141 Garland, TX 37.30 153 120 128 141
142 Oklahoma City, OK 37.20 115 109 157 142
143 Tulsa, OK 37.08 108 143 147 128
144 Cape Coral, FL 37.01 123 160 120 159
145 Birmingham, AL 36.87 132 144 137 140
146 Hialeah, FL 36.79 124 62 158 166
147 Akron, OH 36.77 141 142 151 121
148 Chattanooga, TN 36.73 135 165 122 135
149 Bakersfield, CA 36.57 163 105 146 137
150 San Bernardino, CA 36.00 167 138 145 119
151 Stockton, CA 35.97 147 124 148 148
152 Winston-Salem, NC 35.42 139 169 93 147
153 Wichita, KS 35.28 152 147 134 144
154 Newark, NJ 35.02 164 89 162 153
155 Amarillo, TX 34.89 162 161 152 122
156 Fayetteville, NC 34.73 133 162 131 168
157 Lubbock, TX 34.45 157 167 116 139
158 Columbus, GA 34.32 138 157 166 94
159 Jackson, MS 33.78 99 164 149 171
160 Baton Rouge, LA 32.98 168 154 156 138
161 North Las Vegas, NV 32.83 173 156 164 105
162 Toledo, OH 32.48 145 136 163 161
163 Corpus Christi, TX 32.47 146 151 170 146
164 Mobile, AL 32.15 161 158 155 170
165 Detroit, MI 32.01 170 129 165 151
166 Fort Smith, AR 31.90 150 150 168 162
167 Augusta, GA 31.37 95 166 159 172
168 Huntington, WV 30.17 158 148 172 131
169 Montgomery, AL 29.78 160 173 160 155
170 Memphis, TN 29.64 166 155 169 160
171 Shreveport, LA 27.42 165 171 171 165
172 Gulfport, MS 24.82 171 172 167 174
173 Laredo, TX 24.06 151 170 174 156
174 Brownsville, TX 21.41 174 174 173 173

*1=Healthiest

Ask the Experts

With health-care still a hot issue, we asked a panel of experts to weigh in on how to build good personal health. Click on the experts’ profiles below to read their bios and thoughts on the following key questions:

  1. What impact will the Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase health-care venture have on the U.S. health-care market?
  2. What are the most important factors to consider in choosing a city that is good for your health?
  3. Since health and wealth are both long-term investments, what are some effective strategies for convincing people to invest more in their health today?
  4. What tips do you have for a person looking to live a healthier lifestyle while on a budget?
  5. What measures can local authorities undertake in order to improve local health-care systems?

Methodology

In order to identify the overall healthiest cities in the U.S., WalletHub compared 174 cities — including the 150 most populated U.S. cities, plus at least two of the most populated cities in each state — across four key dimensions: 1) Health Care, 2) Food, 3) Fitness and 4) Green Space. Due to data limitations, the following cities were not included in the analysis: Dover, Delaware, Lewiston, Maine, Bismarck, North Dakota, South Burlington, Vermont, Juneau, Alaska, Pearl City, Hawaii, Columbia, Maryland and Casper, Wyoming. Our sample considers only the city proper in each case and excludes cities in the surrounding metro area.

We evaluated the four dimensions using 43 relevant metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weights. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the most favorable conditions for a healthy lifestyle. Data for metrics marked with an asterisk (*) were available at the state level only. For metrics marked with two asterisks (**), we calculated the population size using the square root of the population in order to avoid overcompensating for minor differences across cities.

We then determined each city’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate its overall score and used the resulting scores to rank-order our sample.

Health Care – Total Points: 25

  • Premature-Death Rate: Triple Weight (~3.95 Points)
    Note: “Premature Death” refers to years of potential life lost.
  • Mental Health: Full Weight (~1.32 Points)
    Note: This metric measures the percentage of adults reporting 14 or more mentally unhealthy days in the past month.
  • Mental-Health Counselors per Capita: Full Weight (~1.32 Points)
    Note: Mental-Health Counselors refers to Mental Health Counselors and Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers.
  • Physical Health: Full Weight (~1.32 Points)
    Note: This metric measures the percentage of adults reporting 14 or more physically unhealthy days in the past month.
  • Family Doctors per Capita: Full Weight (~1.32 Points)
  • Dentists per Capita: Full Weight (~1.32 Points)
  • Cost of Medical Visit: Full Weight (~1.32 Points)
  • Cost of Dental Visit: Full Weight (~1.32 Points)
  • Cost of Basic Medicine: Full Weight (~1.32 Points)
    Note:This metric refers to cold medicine for 6 days (Tylenol, Frenadol, Coldrex, or equivalent brands).
  • Quality of Public Hospital System: Full* Weight (~1.32 Points)
    Note: This metric is based on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ ranking of public hospital systems.
  • Hospital Beds per Capita: Full Weight (~1.32 Points)
  • Adult Health-Insurance Coverage: Full Weight (~1.32 Points)
    Note: This metric measures the percentage of adults aged 19 to 64 years with health insurance coverage.
  • Youth Health-Insurance Coverage: Full Weight (~1.32 Points)
    Note: This metric measures the percentage of youths aged 18 year and younger with health insurance coverage.
  • Share of Adults Who Visited a Doctor or a Dentist in the Past Year: Full Weight (~1.32 Points)
  • Share of Adults Who Checked their Cholesterol in the Past 5 Years: Full Weight (~1.32 Points)
  • Mammography Screenings Among Women Aged 50–74 Years: Full Weight (~1.32 Points)
  • Share of Women & Men Aged 65 Years and Older Who Received Core Preventive Services: Full Weight (~1.32 Points)
    Note: This metric measures the percentage of women aged 65 and older who report having received all of the following: an influenza vaccination in the past year; a pneumococcal vaccination (PPV) ever; either a fecal occult blood test (FOBT) within the past year, a sigmoidoscopy within the past 5 years and a FOBT within the past 3 years, or a colonoscopy within the previous 10 years; and a mammogram in the past 2 years and men aged 65 and older who report having received all of the following: an influenza vaccination in the past year; a PPV ever; and either a fecal occult blood test (FOBT) within the past year, a sigmoidoscopy within the past 5 years and a FOBT within the past 3 years, or a colonoscopy within the past 10 years.

Food – Total Points: 25

  • Inadequate Fruit & Vegetable Consumption: Double Weight (~5.00 Points)
    Note: This metric measures the percentage of adults consuming fewer than one serving of fruits or vegetables per day.
  • Farmer’s Markets per Capita**: Full Weight (~2.50 Points)
  • Gourmet Specialty-Food Stores per Capita**: Full Weight (~2.50 Points)
  • Healthy Restaurants per Capita**: Full Weight (~2.50 Points)
    Note: “Healthy Restaurants” refers to vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free establishments.
  • Dietitians & Nutritionists per Capita: Full Weight (~2.50 Points)
  • Share of Residents Who Say They Eat Healthy: Full Weight (~2.50 Points)
    Note: This metric is based on Gallup and Sharecare’s 2016 Community Rankings for Healthy Eating report which examines healthy eating across the nation.
  • Google Search Interest for “Healthy Eating”: Full Weight (~2.50 Points)
    Note: This metric measures the search interest for “healthy food near me”, “healthy dinner ideas”, “healthy snacks”, “health food stores”, “healthy recipes”, “healthy grocery list”.
  • Share of Obese Residents: Full Weight (~2.50 Points)
  • Limited Access to Healthy Foods: Full Weight (~2.50 Points)
    Note: This metric measures the percentage of the population who earn a low income and do not live within a reasonable distance to a grocery store.

Fitness – Total Points: 25

  • Share of Adults Who Engage in Any Physical Activity: Double Weight (~6.25 Points)
  • Well-Being “Physical” Rank: Full Weight (~3.13 Points)
    Note: This metric refers to the city’s rank in the “Physical” section of the Gallup-Sharecare State of American Well-Being rankings. “Physical” refers to having good health and enough energy to get things done daily.
  • Fitness & Instruction Centers per Capita**: Full Weight (~3.13 Points)
  • Average Cost of Fitness-Club Membership: Full Weight (~3.13 Points)
  • Intramural Leagues per Capita**: Full Weight (~3.13 Points)
  • Weight-Loss Centers per Capita**: Full Weight (~3.13 Points)
  • Fitness Trainers & Aerobics Instructors per Capita: Full Weight (~3.13 Points)

Green Space – Total Points: 25

  • Parkland Acres per Capita**: Full Weight (~2.50 Points)
  • Quality of Parks: Full Weight (~2.50 Points)
    Note: This metric measures “parks spending per capita”, as a proxy for “parks quality.”
  • Hiking Trails per Capita**: Full Weight (~2.50 Points)
  • Running Trails per Capita**: Full Weight (~2.50 Points)
  • Walking Trails per Capita**: Full Weight (~2.50 Points)
  • Walk Score: Full Weight (~2.50 Points)
  • Bike Score: Full Weight (~2.50 Points)
  • Physical-Activity Access: Full Weight (~2.50 Points)
    Note: This metric measures the percentage of the population with adequate access to locations for engaging in physical activity.
  • City “Greenness”: Full Weight (~2.50 Points)
    Note: This metric is based on WalletHub’s Greenest Cities in America ranking that encompasses environmental metrics like air quality or “green” transportation.
  • Recreation Access: Full Weight (~2.50 Points)
    Note: This metric is based on WalletHub’s Best & Worst Cities for Recreation ranking.

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Sources: Data used to create this ranking were collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, Council for Community and Economic Research, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, County Health Rankings, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Yelp, Numbeo, IMLeagues, Gallup-Sharecare, Google Ads, The Trust for Public Land, Under Armour, Expatistan, Walk Score and WalletHub research.

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