That last one may not seem like a top priority when you’re young and carefree, but it’s something worth paying attention to if you’re looking to put down roots. Fortunately, it just got a bit easier to sort the good from the bad in that regard thanks to a new study that ranks the healthiest (and unhealthiest) cities in the country.
Helping settle the debate about which cities are leading the way when it comes to wellness, the folks at WalletHub crunched the numbers on a bunch of relevant data to rank more than 170 of the most populated places in America in terms of how healthy they are to live. To do this, they took a look at four key categories: health care, food, fitness, and green space. Specifically, they considered 42 individual metrics like premature death rate, mental health, farmer’s markets per capita, and park acres per capita.
Topping the list as the healthiest place to live in 2019 is San Francisco, with Seattle coming in as the runner up, and San Diego taking third place. On the other end of the spectrum, Brownsville, Texas earned the dubious distinction as the unhealthiest city in America, while Laredo, Texas, and Gulfport, Mississippiwere the second and third most unhealthy, respectively. You can scope out the full findings at WalletHub, but here’s what made the cut for top 10 most healthy and unhealthy cities this year.
Of course, there are countless factors that play into the relative healthiness of a given locale, from the local economy to healthcare availability. Still, you’ll notice a disproportionate number of the healthiest cities on the list are on the coasts, and many of the unhealthiest are in the south.
That’s not to say that certain places that ranked lower overall don’t shine in other healthy ways. Besides the overall ranking, WalletHub also identified certain cities that excel in particular metrics. For instance, Laredo actually boasts the lowest cost for a medical visit of all the cities on the list (Tacoma, Washington has the highest), while the average monthly gym membership is cheapest in Amarillo, Texas (it’s priciest in Washington, DC).
Then again, the US doesn’t even rank in the top 25 for healthiest countries in the world, so if you’re looking to relocate somewhere that really excels in that department, you have quite a few solid options.
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