CHEROKEE COUNTY, GA — Cherokee County is among the healthiest communities in the United States, according to a new ranking by U.S. News & World Report.
This year’s report, released Tuesday in collaboration with CVS Health and the Aetna Foundation, highlights the 500 healthiest U.S. cities and counties.
The purpose of the ranking 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.
Cherokee County was among those in the top 500, earning the 358th spot in this year’s rankings.
To compile the rankings, U.S. News looked at how nearly 3,000 U.S. counties and cities perform in 84 metrics across 10 health and health-related categories, including housing, food and nutrition, environment and education.
U.S. News compiled metrics using data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Read more about the methodology.
Much of the data used came from periods predating the coronavirus pandemic. This means a town or county’s ranking would not have been affected by the pandemic.
Still, researchers were able to draw parallels between health outcomes and the pandemic.
This year’s analysis found that as of June 4, more than half of the top 500 cities had fewer coronavirus cases per 100,000 people than the national case rate of 9,923 cases per 100,000 people.
Meanwhile, vaccine hesitancy was associated with poorer performances on health metrics — fewer than half of the 10 most hesitant counties landed among the top 250 Healthiest Communities. None reached the top 100.
These are the top 10 healthiest communities in the United States, according to the ranking:
- Los Alamos County, New Mexico
- Douglas County, Colorado
- Falls Church, Virginia
- Loudoun County, Virginia
- Broomfield County, Colorado
- San Miguel County, Colorado
- Pitkin County, Colorado
- Howard County, Maryland
- Morgan County, Utah
- Routt County, Colorado
U.S. News also ranked several subgroups of communities including high-performing and up-and-coming urban communities, as well as high-performing and up-and-coming rural communities.
Here are some other key findings from this year’s report:
- Overall, Iowa counties are most heavily represented in the top 500, with 61 counties in the state making the list.
- No. 1 Los Alamos County had the 17th-lowest COVID-19 case rate overall out of places included in the Healthiest Communities analysis, with 2,731 cases per 100,000 residents over the course of the pandemic as of May 31.
- Counties with more-educated and higher-earning populations tended to perform better on mental health measures included in the Healthiest Communities analysis.
See the full ranking for this year’s 500 healthiest communities.