Where are this year’s healthiest US communities?


In this July 31, 2014 photo, residents enjoy the lush landscaping at Ashley Pond Park near a new county building and a renovated community center in Los Alamos, N.M. (AP Photo/Jeri Clausing)

WASHINGTON — Where you live has an impact on how you live. Just ask folks in the Southwest.

Los Alamos County, New Mexico, tops this year’s list of healthiest U.S. communities, according to rankings released Tuesday by U.S. News and World Report.

The rankings evaluated nearly 3,000 U.S. communities using 84 health and health-related metrics in 10 categories, including population health, education, public safety, and economy, among others.

The 2020 runner-up was Douglas County, Colorado, followed by Falls Church, Virginia.

Situated about 40 miles from Santa Fe, Los Alamos County is among the smallest by area in New Mexico. The town of Los Alamos, which is the county seat, is known as the birthplace of the atomic bomb, developed at the Los Alamos National Laboratory during World War II.

This year’s rankings, released in collaboration with the Aetna Foundation, an affiliate of CVS Health, were accompanied by new tools tracking coronavirus data.

“During this unprecedented year, the Healthiest Communities initiative continues to highlight important components of community health while synthesizing the new COVID-19 metrics, providing an in-depth look at the impact of the disease on communities,” Kim Castro, editor and chief content officer at U.S. News, said in a press release.

Included in this year’s evaluation was the link between coronavirus cases and community vitality, a measurement that accounts for voting and census participation, according to U.S. News. It also highlighted the disproportionate impact of the virus on Black and Hispanic communities.

“Using data from the Healthiest Communities rankings can help create insight on how to better address COVID-19 at the community level,” Garth Graham, vice president of community health and chief community health officer at CVS Health, said in a statement, “while also helping health care organizations develop solutions to combat the health inequities that have plagued our underserved communities for many years.”

Here are the rankings’ top 10 communities:

  1. Los Alamos County, New Mexico
  2. Douglas County, Colorado
  3. Falls Church, Virginia
  4. Broomfield County, Colorado
  5. Routt County, Colorado
  6. Loudoun County, Virginia
  7. Pitkin County, Colorado
  8. Carver County, Minnesota
  9. Summit County, Colorado
  10. San Miguel County Colorado

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