Douglas County, Colorado is the healthiest community in America, according to the 2019 Healthiest Communities rankings by U.S. News & World Report, released this week in collaboration with the Aetna Foundation.
While Richland County did not place in the top 500 counties nationwide, more than one metric which went into the rankings scoring model shows the county in a favorable position when compared to state and/or national averages.
The second annual report and accompanying analysis are based on an evaluation of nearly 3,000 communities nationwide across 81 health-related metrics in 10 categories, from education and population health to infrastructure and environment. In addition to assessing which communities offer their citizens the greatest opportunity to live a productive, healthy life, the project serves as a tool to inform residents, health care leaders and elected officials about policies and best practices that help drive better health outcomes.
For 2019, the top five Healthiest Communities score above the national average in all 10 categories. Following Douglas County, Colorado, at No. 1, Los Alamos County, New Mexico, rose to No. 2, moving Falls Church city, Virginia, to No. 3, down from No. 1 in 2018. Loudoun County, Virginia, jumped up a spot to No. 4, with Broomfield County, Colorado, rounding out the top five.
In Ohio, Delaware County was recognized as the 9th healthiest community in the country. The county scored particularly well in terms of housing, community vitality, and equity. The next highest ranked Ohio counties were Warren, which came in at number 74, and Medina, at number 115.
To compile the rankings, U.S. News worked with the University of Missouri Center for Applied Research and Engagement Systems (CARES), a research institution skilled in community health assessment, and consulted with members of the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics. For the 2019 rankings, three new measures were added: two under the Equity category assessing racial disparities and one under the Housing category measuring households with incomplete plumbing. Overall, the rankings are based on metrics drawn from sources such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, the U.S. Census Bureau, the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Although most of the metrics which went into the overall ranking show Richland County healthy living-related deficiencies, there are several which show more positive news. The following represent a handful of the individual metrics that demonstrate this.
Richland County’s overall score was 43.2, which is above the 39.6 average for similar “urban, up and coming” communities across the country. Neighboring county scores included 54.6 in Ashland; 53.8 in Huron; 48.1 in Crawford; 53.3 in Morrow; and 57.2 in Knox.
Source: Press Release