WalletHub Healthy Cities List Favors California, Pans Texas

In general, the West Coast outscores the deep South

Looking for healthy folks? Take a trip to San Francisco or Seattle, WalletHub suggests. But if your journey takes you through Brownsville or Laredo, Texas, don’t bother stopping.

With health care costs rising and U.S. life expectancy declining for the second year in a row, the personal-finance website conducted what it calls an in-depth analysis of 2018’s Healthiest & Unhealthiest Cities in America.

To identify the places where health is a priority, WalletHub compared more than 170 of the largest U.S. cities across 40 key metrics. The data set ranges from the cost of a doctor visit to fruit and vegetable consumption to fitness clubs per capita.

 The list of the 10 healthiest cities includes: 1) San Francisco, California; 2) Seattle, Washington;  3) Portland, Oregon; 4) San Diego, California; 5) Washington, DC; 6) Burlington, Vermont; 7) Scottsdale, Arizona; 8) Honolulu, Hawaii; 9) Irvine, California; and 10) Denver, Colorado.    

At the other end of the spectrum, WalletHub counts down to the 10 least healthy cities: 165) Memphis, Tennessee; 166) Corpus Christi, Texas; 167) Jackson, Mississippi; 168) Detroit, Michigan; 169) Fort Smith, Arkansas; 170) Gulfport, Mississippi; 171) Shreveport, Louisiana; 172) Augusta, Georgia; 173) Laredo, Texas; and 174) Brownsville, Texas.    

High scores for food, fitness, and green space helped carry San Francisco to the top (and Brownsville to the bottom).

WalletHub singled out some notable statistics:

  • Overland Park, Kansas, has the lowest share of physically unhealthy adults, 6.8%. In contrast, San Bernardino, California, and Detroit were nearly three times higher at 18.7%, the worst total.
  • Laredo, Texas, has the lowest cost per doctor’s visit, $62.78, which is about one-third as much as Boston, the city with the highest at $188.00.
  • Burlington, Vermont, has the lowest share of adults eating fruit less than once daily, 31.7%. Compare that to Little Rock, Arkansas, the city with the highest at 56.2%.
  • Bridgeport, Connecticut, has the lowest average monthly cost for a fitness-club membership, $10.00. You’ll pay 7.3 times more in New York, the city with the highest at $73.48.

Source: WalletHub; February 12, 2018.