Rural, Up-and-Coming Rankings

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Understanding the cultures of communities around the U.S. and how they can overcome obstacles to health and wellness is a key driver behind the U.S. News Healthiest Communities rankings, which allow residents to compare their communities with others across the nation of similar geographic status and economic strength.

Living in far-flung counties may pose challenges for residents' health, but the comparably higher scores of these rural communities with up-and-coming economies show that all types of communities can experience success and serve as models for one another.

Below are the 2019 rankings of the top 100 rural, up-and-coming communities and their scores across 10 categories that drive overall community health, on a scale of zero to 100.

Rank

?

County

?

Population Health

?

Equity

?

Education

?

Economy

?

Housing

?

Food & Nutrition

?

Environment

?

Public Safety

?

Community Vitality

?

Infrastructure

1?Wallowa County, Oregon?85.6?54.3?51.7?36.4?38.9?80.9?69.8?76.9?75.9?63.5
2?Lincoln County, Washington?77.5?76.9?41.1?34.4?51.4?53.6?58?80.9?71.3?78.7
3?Calhoun County, Iowa?73.9?55.4?54.4?39.7?54.1?68.6?72.4?72.3?54.5?70.6
4?Iron County, Wisconsin?67.3?65.1?48.4?37.2?45.9?64.2?71.9?77.9?69.1?58.5
5?Baylor County, Texas?54.9?54.8?73.2?37.5?59.2?59.3?59.5?62.7?49.9?90.4
6?Grant County, Oregon?78.9?63.8?33?32.4?33.9?65.2?63.8?84.1?68.5?63.1
7?Curry County, Oregon?64.1?69.4?28.3?36.7?28.4?79.2?68.2?74.9?62.2?82.5
8?Yancey County, North Carolina?52.3?76.4?43?33?56.9?64.3?85.3?76.1?62.4?40.7
9?Rio Grande County, Colorado?64.9?64.4?38.9?31.5?56.7?83.4?89.2?57.4?48.1?56.5
10?Walworth County, South Dakota?76.3?62.7?53.1?39.5?60.2?32.3?76.3?39.1?55.7?84.4
11?Lexington city, Virginia?66.7?45.9?85.4?34.3?61.2?56.7?65.9?77.4?28.3?70.1
12?Wahkiakum County, Washington?65.2?85.6?22?29.1?59.4?60.5?61.5?78?81.1?33.8
13?Mitchell County, North Carolina?56?69?34.4?37.1?76.6?52.9?88.3?66.6?55.1?52.1
14?Powell County, Montana?59.2?52.2?26.3?39.2?77.5?76.5?74.6?75.8?50.8?60.6
15?Richland County, Illinois?68.1?60?46.7?39.1?68.2?65.3?67.6?47.4?53.2?63
16?Musselshell County, Montana?53.7?97.8?29.3?39.6?44.3?68.9?73.2?51.6?76.1?35.4
17?Wadena County, Minnesota?64.7?68.2?46.6?35.9?52.1?55.4?69?67.9?62.9?54.8
18?Washington County, Idaho?59.8?74.4?25.2?32.6?57?71.1?62.4?85.4?54.1?61.3
19?Alger County, Michigan?72.1?71.3?25.8?30.5?60.7?53.4?71.1?73.2?59.7?59.6
20?Chouteau County, Montana?60.9?37.5?32.5?28.9?82.4?65.4?71.3?67.9?62?76.1
21?Union County, Illinois?64.4?73.4?50.9?35.7?60.7?50.6?60.9?73?53.5?44.8
22?Sanders County, Montana?64.7?72.1?23.5?31.8?44.9?79.3?71.2?61.5?72.2?48.4
23?Iron County, Michigan?60.8?72.7?31.4?33.9?59.3?59.2?71.9?64.8?66?49.1
24?Essex County, Vermont?62.6?79.6?58.7?36.4?53.1?37.5?66.6?69?53.6?47.4
25?Tillamook County, Oregon?70?52.1?29.1?40?34.1?66.6?68.5?79.9?63.2?70.7

The 2019 Healthiest Communities rankings were created in collaboration with the Aetna Foundation and are based on an examination of nearly 3,000 communities across 81 metrics in the 10 health-related categories. Population health and equity were the most heavily weighted categories, based on the assessments of more than a dozen leading experts on what matters most to a community’s health.

These rankings identify the top 100 rural, up-and-coming communities in America, ranging from No. 1 Wallowa County, Oregon, to No. 100 Sullivan County, Missouri. Communities classified as “rural” were not metropolitan or micropolitan – areas with substantial central populations and integrated adjacent communities – or were home to fewer than 20 people per square mile. Up-and-coming” applies to communities that scored in the bottom half in the economy category out of all rural communities assessed in the Healthiest Communities rankings. “Up-and-coming” also is meant to designate communities that have more room to build and strengthen their economies.

Beyond the rankings, the Healthiest Communities platform offers data and insight on each of the nearly 3,000 communities evaluated. Users can dive into the data with our interactive Data Explorer.

14.15%

Population Health

12.23%

Equity

12.15%

Education

11.08%

Economy

9.46%

Housing

8.77%

Food & Nutrition

8.62%

Environment

8.46%

Public Safety

7.62%

Community Vitality

7.46%

Infrastructure

CATEGORIES

WEIGHT

Population Health

14.1%

Equity

12.2%

Education

12.2%

Economy

11.1%

Housing

9.5%

Food & Nutrition

8.8%

Environment

8.6%

Public Safety

8.5%

Community Vitality

7.6%

Infrastructure

7.5%

U.S. News divided communities into four peer groups to allow for fair comparisons between them. See the top 500 overall rankings and the top 100 communities in the other three peer groups:

Healthiest Communities

in collaboration with
Healthiest Communities is an interactive destination for consumers and policymakers, developed by U.S. News & World Report in collaboration with the Aetna Foundation, an independent charitable and philanthropic affiliate of CVS Health. Backed by in-depth research and accompanied by news and analysis, the site features comprehensive rankings drawn from an examination of nearly 3,000 counties and county equivalents on 81 metrics across 10 categories, informing residents, health care leaders and officials about local policies and practices that drive better health outcomes for all. Data were gathered and analyzed by the University of Missouri Center for Applied Research and Engagement Systems (CARES).