10 NJ Counties Among Healthiest Communities In 2022: U.S. News
A new environmental category shows health risks from natural disasters among ethnic groups and communities.
Josh Bakan,Patch Staff
Posted Wed, Jun 22, 2022 at 9:38 am ET
Ten counties in New Jersey are among the healthiest communities in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report. (Shutterstock)
NEW JERSEY — Ten New Jersey counties are among the healthiest communities in the United States, according to a new ranking by U.S. News & World Report.
The fifth annual report — released Wednesday in collaboration with CVS Health — highlights the healthiest 500 counties in the United States.
The following New Jersey counties made the cut:
- Morris County, 16th
- Hunterdon County, 27th
- Somerset County, 67th
- Bergen County, 75th
- Sussex County, 228th
- Burlington County, 250th
- Monmouth County, 256th
- Warren County, 330th
- Middlesex County, 337th
- Gloucester County, 408th
To rank each area, U.S. News looked at how nearly 3,000 U.S. counties performed in 89 metrics across 10 health-related categories, including an environmental category new to this year's list. The new category was included to help account for the growing threat of climate change.
The categories are based on factors key to evaluating community health identified by the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics — a policy advisory board to the head of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services — as part of its Measurement Framework for Community Health and Well-Being.
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U.S. News collected data for its rankings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Census Bureau, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, among others.
Read more about the rankings' methodology.
Using data on natural disasters from the National Risk Index by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), U.S. News found in this year's analysis that Indigenous people are at the greatest risk from natural hazards. They have higher risks from sustained periods of colder temperatures, droughts, flooding in rivers and streams, and wildfires compared with other racial and ethnic groups, the analysis showed.
Black people are more at risk from heat waves, hurricanes, tornadoes and coastal flooding than any other demographic group, according to the analysis, and earthquakes pose the highest risk to Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders.
Tornadoes pose the highest risk to the overall population in the United States and are a particular threat to white, Black and Hispanic populations, the analysis found.
The ranking also revealed connections between top performers on the list and COVID-19 health outcomes. Communities with higher cumulative COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 people have lower rates of postsecondary education, lower life expectancy and lower shares of adults who have recently engaged in leisure-time physical activity, the analysis showed. Communities with higher vaccination rates also had lower rates of death due to COVID-19.
These are the top 10 healthiest communities in the United States, according to the ranking:
- 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
- Broomfield County, Colorado
- Delaware County, Ohio
U.S. News also ranked several subgroups of communities including high-performing and up-and-coming urban communities, as well as high-performing and up-and-coming rural communities.
Other key findings in the 2022 report:
- Four of the top 20 are in northern Virginia: No. 2 Falls Church, No. 12 Loudoun County, No. 13 Arlington County and No. 17 Fairfax County.
- For the second year in a row, Iowa counties are most heavily represented in the top 500, with 57 counties in the state making the list after 61 made it last year. Minnesota was next with 52 counties in the top 500.
- Rhode Island, Iowa and Minnesota were the states with the highest median overall scores across their counties, while Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas had the lowest median overall scores.
- Communities with lower scores in the mental health subcategory tend to have lower life expectancies, lower median household incomes and lower labor force participation, as well as higher rates of poverty.
- Rural communities are more likely to have higher shares of adults reporting frequent mental distress, and urban communities are more likely to have higher shares of Medicare beneficiaries diagnosed with depression.
See the full ranking for this year's top 500 healthiest communities.
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