U.S. News released its annual rankings for the Healthiest Communities in the U.S., and in 2020 — a year rife with health and safety issues — Los Alamos County, New Mexico, came out on top.
Located about 40 miles from Santa Fe, Los Alamos is known for its national laboratory, where the first atomic bombs were tested during World War II. Now, it’s the county’s clean air, access to outdoor recreation, and the helpfulness of its residents that are grabbing headlines.
According to the report, the project scored “nearly 3,000 counties and county equivalents on 84 metrics across 10 categories.” These 10 categories include population health, equity, education, economy, housing, food and nutrition, environment, public safety, community vitality, and infrastructure.
Los Alamos County received a perfect score for its quality of drinking water, availability of affordable housing, access to parks, and population with an advanced degree. It also ranked among the best for low racial segregation (number three) and low preventable hospital admissions (number 21).
“A healthy environment is part of what definitely contributes to [Los Alamos County] being a healthy community,” Sara Scott, Los Alamos County council chair, told CNN. “People have the opportunity and the interest in getting out, taking advantage of our mountains, trails, biking, horse-riding, and golfing.”
High scores for population health, infrastructure, and the economy earned Douglas County, Colorado, its spot in second place, while low scores for equity and housing left Falls Church, Virginia, ranking in third. Of the top 500 communities in the final report, Columbia County, New York, came in at last place.
According to CNN, data used to determine the rankings was obtained before the pandemic, but new tools used in this year’s report provided COVID-19 information and shone a light on the disproportionate impact of the virus on Black and Hispanic communities.
“The Healthiest Communities rankings are a snapshot of how healthy a community is at a period in time,” Deidre McPhillips, senior data editor at U.S. News & World Report, told CNN. “This year, it was incredibly important to factor coronavirus into that analysis.” Credits AP..

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