US News, Aetna Foundation Rank Nation's Healthiest Counties; Three in CT Reach Top 100

Three Connecticut counties are among the 100 healthiest in the nation.  Tolland County ranked #44, Middlesex County was #46, and Litchfield County placed #54, in an analysis published by U.S. News & World Report in collaboration with the Aetna Foundation. Two additional Connecticut counties ranked among the top 500:  Fairfield County was #351 and New London County was #411.  Hartford Country, New Haven County, and Windham County were unranked, outside the top 500.

The “Healthiest Communities” analysis is designed as an interactive destination for consumers and policymakers.  Backed by in-depth research and accompanied by news and analysis, the site features comprehensive rankings drawn from an examination of nearly 3,000 counties and county equivalents on 80 metrics across 10 categories, informing residents, health care leaders and officials about local policies and practices that drive better health outcomes for all, the website explains.

The data categories include Population Health, Equity, Education, Housing, Food & Nutrition, Environment, Public Safety, Community Vitality, and Infrastructure.  All of the categories but one, equity, were identified as key considerations in evaluating community health by the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics as part of its Measurement Framework for Community Health and Well-Being.  Data were gathered and analyzed by the University of Missouri Center for Applied Research and Engagement Systems (CARES).  The overall project was developed by U.S. News & World Report in collaboration with the Aetna Foundation.

Topping the national rankings were Falls Church, Virginia; Douglas County, Colorado; Broomfield County, Colorado; Los Alamos County, New Mexico; and Dukes County, Massachusetts.  Dukes County, the second smallest in Massachusetts, includes Martha’s Vineyard and the Elizabeth Islands.

The scores for Connecticut’s counties were Windham 56.6, New Haven 60.2, Hartford 61.6, Fairfield 69.1, New London 67.9, Litchfield 82.0, Middlesex 82.6, and Tolland, 82.9.  The overall state average was 70.4.  The U.S. average was 52.3.  Among neighboring states, the Massachusetts statewide average was 72.8, Rhode Island was 74.8 and New York was 61.7.

“Healthiest Communities evaluates and explores how counties and county equivalents can minimize chronic disease, keep people out of the hospital, provide access to health care and lower costs,” the website explains.  “The Aetna Foundation, the independent charitable and philanthropic arm of Aetna, invested in this project as part of its broader effort to improve the health of communities.”