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. Of course, the most pressing health issue in the past two years has been the COVID-19 pandemic, and how well a city handles it can have a huge impact on the wellness of its residents, both physically and mentally.
When a city doesn’t take care of these many important 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 has taken a huge hit during the pandemic. Plus, 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 180 of the most populated U.S. cities across 43 key indicators of good health. Our data set ranges from the cost of a medical visit to fruit and vegetable consumption to COVID-19 cases.
Table of Contents
Main FindingsAsk the ExpertsMethodology
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Healthiest Places to Live in the U.S.
|Overall Rank||City||Total Score||Health Care||Food||Fitness||Green Space|
|1||San Francisco, CA||68.54||33||1||52||1|
|3||San Diego, CA||64.94||40||4||19||7|
|5||Salt Lake City, UT||64.16||38||14||3||4|
|9||South Burlington, VT||60.09||3||10||90||71|
|16||Huntington Beach, CA||58.45||10||47||7||33|
|17||New York, NY||58.35||42||2||153||15|
|19||Los Angeles, CA||58.23||78||6||82||19|
|21||San Jose, CA||57.46||15||20||56||35|
|31||Las Vegas, NV||55.27||164||18||27||21|
|37||Fort Lauderdale, FL||54.06||48||48||39||52|
|39||Long Beach, CA||54.01||62||37||40||50|
|40||Overland Park, KS||53.95||2||108||37||95|
|42||Santa Rosa, CA||53.50||44||65||36||65|
|45||St. Paul, MN||53.04||20||67||78||37|
|48||Santa Clarita, CA||52.66||22||90||51||38|
|49||St. Petersburg, FL||52.49||83||61||26||57|
|51||St. Louis, MO||52.26||104||45||43||48|
|55||Pembroke Pines, FL||51.59||19||105||66||39|
|56||Garden Grove, CA||51.53||53||58||125||2|
|61||Grand Rapids, MI||51.09||68||59||64||61|
|62||Virginia Beach, VA||51.03||39||52||50||93|
|66||Sioux Falls, SD||50.82||14||79||68||117|
|68||West Valley City, UT||50.67||85||42||116||41|
|73||Pearl City, HI||50.57||26||112||112||26|
|74||Colorado Springs, CO||49.89||90||92||13||105|
|80||Cedar Rapids, IA||49.10||4||124||121||58|
|82||Jersey City, NJ||48.71||57||31||146||92|
|84||Chula Vista, CA||48.43||41||78||53||140|
|86||New Haven, CT||48.14||45||109||148||30|
|100||San Antonio, TX||46.71||106||94||89||88|
|103||New Orleans, LA||46.08||110||131||151||20|
|105||Santa Ana, CA||46.07||94||69||122||97|
|109||Rapid City, SD||45.38||95||103||137||81|
|116||Des Moines, IA||44.56||12||139||130||131|
|118||Rancho Cucamonga, CA||44.45||132||145||49||120|
|130||Oklahoma City, OK||42.62||35||149||111||147|
|131||Cape Coral, FL||42.47||97||143||119||154|
|132||Kansas City, MO||42.41||145||117||138||99|
|133||Fort Worth, TX||42.35||126||126||81||146|
|134||Little Rock, AR||42.33||119||140||96||149|
|135||Port St. Lucie, FL||42.24||122||98||128||172|
|138||El Paso, TX||41.89||125||110||154||111|
|141||Newport News, VA||41.16||138||123||157||94|
|151||Grand Prairie, TX||39.65||115||155||175||59|
|154||Baton Rouge, LA||39.35||128||163||134||135|
|155||Las Cruces, NM||39.28||96||175||159||127|
|156||Fort Wayne, IN||38.70||105||137||105||180|
|158||San Bernardino, CA||37.69||176||148||169||89|
|159||Moreno Valley, CA||37.66||146||142||177||132|
|166||Corpus Christi, TX||36.29||160||161||160||152|
|169||Fort Smith, AR||35.80||169||159||176||119|
|170||North Las Vegas, NV||35.50||177||160||170||129|
Note: With the exception of “Total Score,” all of the columns in the table above depict the relative rank of that city, where a rank of 1 represents the best conditions for that metric category.
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:
- What are the most important factors to consider in choosing a city that is good for your health?
- Since health and wealth are both long-term investments, what are some effective strategies for convincing people to invest more in their health today?
- What tips do you have for a person looking to embrace a more healthy lifestyle while on a budget?
- What measures can local authorities undertake in order to improve local health care systems?
Ask the Experts
Ph.D., ABPP (Rp) – Executive Associate Dean, College of Public Health and Health Professions – University of Florida
Ph.D. – Assistant Professor, Health Policy and Health Services Research, Department of Public Health Sciences – The University of Chicago
Distinguished Professor, School of Urban Public Health – Hunter College, CUNY Graduate Center
Amy Lynn McGuire
JD, Ph.D. – Leon Jaworski Professor of Biomedical Ethics; Director, Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy – Baylor College of Medicine
Jan K. Carney
MD, MPH – Associate Dean for Public Health & Health Policy; Professor of Medicine; Director, Graduate Public Health Programs, Larner College of Medicine – University of Vermont
In order to identify the overall healthiest cities in the U.S., WalletHub compared 182 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. 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 (~3.00 Points)
Note: “Premature Death” refers to years of potential life lost.
- Mental Health: Full Weight (~1.00 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 (~1.00 Points)
Note: Mental-Health Counselors refers to Mental Health Counselors and Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers.
- Physical Health: Full Weight (~1.00 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 (~1.00 Points)
- Dentists per Capita: Full Weight (~1.00 Points)
- Cost of Medical Visit: Full Weight (~1.00 Points)
- Cost of Dental Visit: Full Weight (~1.00 Points)
- Cost of Basic Medicine: Full Weight (~1.00 Points)
Note: This metric refers to cold medicine for 6 days (Tylenol, Frenadol, Coldrex or equivalent brands).
- Quality of Public Hospital System: Full* Weight (~1.00 Points)
Note: This metric is based on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ ranking of public hospital systems.
- Average COVID-19 Deaths in the Past Week per Capita: Double Weight (~2.00 Points)
- Average COVID-19 Cases in the Past Week per Capita: Double Weight (~2.00 Points)
- Percentage of Residents 12+ Who Are Fully Vaccinated: Double Weight (~2.00 Points)
- Hospital Beds per Capita: Full Weight (~1.00 Points)
- Adult Health-Insurance Coverage: Full Weight (~1.00 Points)
Note: This metric measures the percentage of adults ages 19 to 64 with health insurance coverage.
- Youth Health-Insurance Coverage: Full Weight (~1.00 Points)
Note: This metric measures the percentage of youths ages 18 and younger with health insurance coverage.
- Share of Adults Who Visited a Doctor or a Dentist in the Past Year: Full Weight (~1.00 Points)
- Share of Adults Who Checked their Cholesterol in the Past 5 years: Full Weight (~1.00 Points)
- Mammography Screenings Among Women Ages 50–74: Full Weight (~1.00 Points)
- Share of Women & Men Ages 65 and Older Who Received Core Preventive Services: Full Weight (~1.00 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 (~7.14 Points)
- Well-Being “Physical” Score: Full Weight (~3.57 Points)
Note: This metric refers to the city’s score in the “Physical” section of the Sharecare Community Well-Being Index rankings. “Physical” refers to having good health and enough energy to get things done daily.
- Fitness & Instruction Centers per Capita**: Full Weight (~3.57 Points)
- Average Cost of Fitness-Club Membership: Full Weight (~3.57 Points)
- Weight-Loss Centers per Capita**: Full Weight (~3.57 Points)
- Fitness Trainers & Aerobics Instructors per Capita: Full Weight (~3.57 Points)
Green Space – Total Points: 25
- Parkland Acres per Capita: Full Weight (~3.13 Points)
- Quality of Parks: Full Weight (~3.13 Points)
Note: This metric measures “parks spending per capita” as a proxy for “parks quality.”
- Hiking Trails per Capita**: Full Weight (~3.13 Points)
- Walk Score: Full Weight (~3.13 Points)
- Bike Score: Full Weight (~3.13 Points)
- Physical-Activity Access: Full Weight (~3.13 Points)
Note: This metric measures the percentage of the population with adequate access to locations for engaging in physical activity.
- City “Greenness”: Full Weight (~3.13 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 (~3.13 Points)
Note: This metric is based on WalletHub’s "" ranking.
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, Sharecare Community Well-Being Index, Google Ads, The Trust for Public Land, Expatistan, Walk Score, The New York Times and WalletHub research.
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2022's Healthiest & Unhealthiest Cities in America – WalletHub Study.
|Healthiest Cities||Unhealthiest Cities|
|1. San Francisco, CA||173. Montgomery, AL|
|2. Seattle, WA||174. Columbus, GA|
|3. San Diego, CA||175. Augusta, GA|
In comparison, the 10 unhealthiest cities, according to WalletHub, are:
- Brownsville, Texas.
- Gulfport, Miss.
- Laredo, Texas.
- Memphis, Tenn.
- Jackson, Miss.
- Charleston, W.V.
- Shreveport, La.
- Augusta, Ga.
- 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.
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2022 Mindbody Wellness Index Top 10 Healthiest Cities in America:
- San Diego, Calif.
- Atlanta, Ga.
- Washington, D.C.
- San Francisco, Calif.
- San Jose, Calif.
- Austin, Texas.
- Seattle, Wash.
- Raleigh, N.C.
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Vermont. Vermont is considered the healthiest state in the U.S. Vermont's adult obesity rate is 26.6%, the seventh-lowest in the country, and its adult smoking rate is 15.1%, the 21st-lowest. Physical activity is common in Vermont, with just about 80% of residents reporting daily exercise, the seventh-highest.Where is the healthiest place to retire? ›
#1. Portugal. Portugal is one of the world's healthiest places to live, with low rates of disease and an average life expectancy of 81.6 years. People in Portugal die 12% less often from cancer than people living in other European countries.
For the third year in a row, Los Alamos County, New Mexico, is the healthiest community in the United States, according to U.S. News & World Report's 2022 "Healthiest Communities Rankings," which ranks counties and county equivalents on 10 health-related criteria.What is the happiest and healthiest city? ›
Naples, Florida has been making it into the "happiest and healthiest city" rankings for many years in a row. Thousands of people choose this city to become their home for hundreds of reasons.Where do the unhealthiest people live? ›
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Hawaii is the top state for health care. It's followed by Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey and California to round out the top five.Which cities exercise the most? ›
- Washington, DC. ...
- Austin, TX. ...
- San Diego, CA. ...
- Seattle, WA. ...
- Long Beach, CA. ...
- Los Angeles, CA. ...
- Boston, MA. ...
- 2022 Fitness Trends Report. On-demand webinar.
|Rank||State||Percentage physically inactive|
Concord is named the “happiest” city in America, according to a study by HouseFresh. The city was also named the “smiliest” in the country. For both categories, San Francisco cracked the top 20 with a ranking of 15th. No other California city cracked the top 20 in either the “happiest” or “smiliest” categories.Is Florida a healthy place to live? ›
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|Rank||Country||Average life expectancy (years)|
1. Mississippi. Mississippi has consistently been the country's most unhealthy state for several years. While Mississippi has a low drug death rate and low prevalence of excessive drinking, it falls behind in many other categories.
The U.S. is the unhealthiest country globally because of its high obesity rate and the heart disease, diabetes, and other illnesses that go along with it. America has one of the highest rates of obesity in the world—and it's not just adults who are getting heavier and heavier: childhood obesity is also a problem.What is the least obese city in America? ›
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Mississippi has the highest adult obesity rate at 39.7% and Colorado has the lowest at 24.2%. Between 2019-2020, the adult obesity rate increased in Alabama, California and Iowa.What is healthiest US state? ›
Massachusetts was rated the healthiest state in the country according to a study released last month by Boston University's School of Public Health and the digital health company Sharecare, scoring highest in the areas of health care access, and housing and transportation.Which state has the most sick people? ›
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- Palau - 55.30%
- Marshall Islands - 52.90%
- Tuvalu - 51.60%
- Niue - 50.00%
- Tonga - 48.20%
- Samoa - 47.30%
- Kiribati - 46.00%
- Micronesia - 45.80%
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1. Japan. You might have noticed that Japan frequently tops wellbeing lists online and in the press – and its population is indeed the oldest in the world. Diet plays an important role in this: as an island, there's a natural abundance of fresh fish on the menu, balanced by carbohydrates, vegetables, fruit and meat.Which state has the lowest rate of obesity? ›
Obesity Rate by State 2022.
|State||Obesity Rate||2022 Pop.|
According to WalletHub, West Virginia is the most overweight state based on overall score, while Utah is the least overweight state based on overall score.What is the most obese state in America 2022? ›
- Mississippi - 40.80%
- West Virginia - 39.70%
- Arkansas - 37.40%
- Oklahoma - 36.80%
- Kentucky - 36.50%
- Tennessee - 36.50%
- Alabama - 36.10%
- Michigan - 36.00%
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