According to rankings compiled by US News & World Report, two New Jersey counties, Hunterdon and Morris, are in the top 25 healthiest communities in the country. The magazine, in collaboration with the Aetna Foundation, scored communities across the ten broad categories of Population Health, Equity (including income and social equity), Education, Economy, Housing, Food and Nutrition, Environment, Public Safety, Community Vitality, and Infrastructure.

Population health and equity are the most heavily weighted categories, based on the assessments of more than a dozen leading experts on what matters most to a community’s health. Hunterdon County, which ranked 15th, scored particularly well in Education and Economy (income and employment); it also did well in Population Health (which includes things like access to care, health outcomes, health behavior, and mental health). Morris County was 22nd, and also did well in Education and Economy, as well as Public Safety (including things like crime and injuries).

While Hunterdon and Morris were the only New Jersey communities in the top 25, other New Jersey areas were represented in the top 500: Somerset County at No. 44, Sussex County at No. 143, Bergen County at No. 188, Burlington County at No. 267, and Monmouth County at No. 409.

The overall top five in the country are 1. Los Alamos County, New Mexico; 2. Douglas County, Colorado; 3. Falls Church, Virginia; 4. Broomfield County, Colorado; 5. Routt County, Colorado.

According to the magazine, “The U.S. News Healthiest Communities rankings measure crucial health-related components of society with the aim of empowering citizens, health care leaders and officials to make decisions about policies and practices that can improve health outcomes for all.”

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle. Any opinions expressed are Bill Doyle's own.

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