SOMERSET COUNTY, NJ — Where we live plays a critical role in determining the health, well-being and life expectancy among nearly 330 million Americans, according to a new ranking.
U.S. News & World Report this week released its annual Healthiest Communities ranking. According to this year’s list, communities in Colorado are among some of the healthiest in the United States. The state earned six of the top 10 spots on the list.
The 2020 list spotlights 500 U.S. cities and counties, including Somerset County, which earned the 44th spot in this year’s rankings.
Somerset County ranked as third highest healthiest community in New Jersey. Hunterdon County ranked first in NJ with a 15th overall rank in the county followed by Morris County with 22nd in the country.
The ranking’s purpose is to explore how communities across the United States are working to improve the health of their residents. It also helps keep citizens, health care leaders and elected officials informed of local policies and practices that drive better health outcomes for all.
To compile this year’s list of Healthiest Communities, U.S. News, in collaboration with the Aetna Foundation, examined nearly 3,000 counties and county equivalents using 10 categories containing a total of 84 different metrics.
Categories include factors such as access to health care, air and water quality, public safety, housing and community vitality.
The data used for this year’s rankings came from a period before the COVID-19 pandemic; therefore, community health had not yet been affected by the virus.
U.S. News analyzed data from sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Read more about the methodology used to determine this year’s Healthiest Communities.
Here’s a look at the top 10 Healthiest Communities for 2020:
Los Alamos County, New Mexico
Douglas County, Colorado
City of Falls Church, Virginia
Broomfield County, Colorado
Routt County, Colorado
Loudoun County, Virginia
Pitkin County, Colorado
Carver County, Minnesota
Summit County, Colorado
San Miguel County, Colorado
This year’s top five Healthiest Communities scored above the national average in at least eight of the 10 categories.
Separate from this year’s rankings, U.S. News also unveiled tools used to track U.S. COVID-19 data, such as case numbers, death rates, unemployment and more. The tools update in real time and illustrate how the prevalence of obesity and diabetes could put a community more at risk for contracting COVID-19.
The publication also took an in-depth look at the relationships between COVID-19 and the social determinants of health, including the link between COVID-19 cases and community vitality, and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black and Hispanic communities.
See the full list and learn more about 2020’s Healthiest Communities.
This article originally appeared on the Bridgewater Patch