NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Ranking The State Of Health In The States

November 15, 2000

If you know what's good for you, you'll head for New Hampshire and avoid Mississippi. This is one conclusion of a study comparing the overall health characteristics of Americans living in the 50 states. The study is being published by UnitedHealth Group.

The 11th annual rankings are based on motor vehicle deaths, crime rates, the prevalence of heart disease and smoking, and health-care access -- among other factors.

Each score represents the state's percentage above or below the average of the 50 states:

  • New Hampshire, at 23 percent, registered the healthiest score -- while Mississippi came in last at -18.8 percent.
  • Americans' overall health has improved by 2.6 percent from last year -- and 17.6 percent since 1990, the first year of the study.
  • The states with the greatest overall health improvement from 1999 to 2000 are Arkansas, Hawaii, Delaware, Montana, South Dakota and Utah.
  • Those with the greatest decline are Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois and Wyoming.

An officer with the Mississippi Health Department commented that the list reflects the economic status of states. Those with the lowest per capita income would likely be the lowest ranked.

Source: Mara H. Gottfried, "New Hampshire Gets Great Checkup," USA Today, November 14, 2000.


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