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Healthy State

Updated -- August 12, 2003

A recent survey compared the health of residents in different states of the United States of America .  The survey considered incidents of serious diseases, hospitalizations, physician visits, death rates, and the results of answers to interview questions of a random selection of individuals.  The results of the survey ranked the states in the following order:

    1.  New Hampshire (J)   18.  Virginia   35.  Delaware
    2.  Minnesota (*)   19.  New Jersey   36.  North Carolina
    3.  Massachusetts (J   20.  Idaho   37.  Texas (N)
    4.  Utah     21.  Kansas (*)   38.  Nevada (L)
    5.  Connecticut (J)   22.  Indiana (*)   39.  Kentucky (L)
    6.  Vermont (J)   23.  Pennsylvania   40.  Georgia (N)
    7.  Iowa (*) and      Colorado (tie)   24.  Montana and California (tie)   41.  West Virginia (L)
    9.  North Dakota (*)   26.  Wyoming   42.  New Mexico (L)
  10.  Maine (J)    27.  Ohio   43.  Florida (N)
  11.  Washington and Wisconsin (*)   28.  Maryland   44.  Tennessee (L)
  13.  Rhode Island (J)   29.  Michigan (*)   45.  Alabama (N)
  14.  Hawaii   30. Alaska   46.  Oklahoma (L)
  15.  Nebraska (*)   31.  Illinois (*)   47.  Arkansas (L)
  16.  South Dakota (*)   32.  New York and Missouri (*) (tie)   48.  South Carolina (N)
  17.  Oregon   34.  Arizona   49.  Mississippi (N)
      50.  Louisiana (N)

  Note the trends:        

  J: New England States (6 of the top 13)
  L: Generally considered “lower medium income” States

  N:  Gulf Coast States and other swampy places (molds!)  (6 of bottom 11, or with Texas, 7 of bottom 14)

         *:  Midwest States (11 of top 32)


The northern and/or cold weather States are generally great -- provided no heavy industrialization -- while the Midwestern States (the bread basket of America ) are consistently in the top two-thirds.  The Southern States (with humidity) are consistently lousy, while New Mexico has a large population of lower income families.  The worst places in the nation appear to be where the swamps are.  (Keep in mind that Florida ’s swamps are offset by some higher ground, but not enough to help all that much.)  The Morman influence in Utah may be important, as compared to Nevada with similar climate and a heavy gambling influence in the latter.

Another more specific version of variations in healthy states has been to compare how states rank in terms of cancer risk.  WebMD Medical News' Jennifer Warner has reported on the American Cancer Society's measure of how states fare under the following six criteria:

  1.     Access to colon cancer screenings

  2.     Access to clinical trails

  3.     Access to breast and cervical cancer treatment for low-income women

  4.     Smoke-free workplaces

  5.     Increased tobacco excise taxes

  6.     Funding of tobacco control programs

California was the only state with six out of six, while Alabama and Kentucky scored only one of six.  Most other states scored somewhere in between.

And yet, according to Netscape in its article on State Migrations, people are moving out of California and New York "in droves".  Both are down nearly a million people in the last ten years, while Illinois, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania also lost more residents than they gained.  All of these states are in lower two thirds of healthy states, which might therefore make some sense.  Except of course for the fact that South Carolina is seeing some very notable gains in population, despite its rank as the 48th healthiest state.  Go figure.

Meanwhile, the basic migration is toward the "Sun Belt" -- which now comprises 13 states and accounts for 20% of the population and 79% of the total growth of the nation's white population.  These include: Georgia, North Carolina, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Tennessee, South Carolina, Virginia, Utah, Delaware, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.  "Sun belt?"  Oregon?

Netscape <http://netscape5.marketwatch.com/news/story> has also reported on people's perception of the most desirable states.  In 2003, these included (in order): California, Florida, Hawaii, Colorado, New York, Arizona, Texas, North Carolina, Virginia, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Montana, Georgia, and Alaska.  In other words, people who do not live in these states and suffer through the problems associated with each state, still seem to think they must be nice places to live. 

This perception varies each year.  For example, the most noteworthy change was to raise Texas from 14th most desirable to 7th.  Meanwhile, most native born Texans assume that Texas has always been number one, and that it is only the newcomers who do not fully appreciate this fact.

BTW, it's impolite to ask someone where they're from.  If they're from Texas, they will eventually tell you in the course of the conversation.  If they're not from Texas, you don't want to embarrass them.


Health and Responsibility         Theory of Eating        Don't Push the Baby


Or forward to:

Drug Pushers          Iatrogenic         Drug Enforcers

Medical Organizations         Inexpensive Remedies         Mental Health



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