United States Overview
United States Overview
America’s Health Rankings® Senior Report shows Minnesota at the top of the list of healthiest states for older adults. Vermont is ranked second and New Hampshire is third, followed by Massachusetts and Iowa. Mississippi is ranked 50th as the least healthy state for older adults. Oklahoma, Louisiana, West Virginia, and Arkansas complete the bottom 5 states. View overall senior rankings.
Minnesota’s strengths include ranking first for all health determinants combined, which includes ranking in the top 5 states for a high rate of annual dental visits, a high percentage of volunteerism, a low percentage of marginal food insecurity, a high percentage of creditable drug coverage, and ready availability of home health care workers. Minnesota also ranks first for all health outcomes combined, including ranking in the top 5 states for a low rate of hospitalization for hip fractures, a high percentage of seniors who report very good or excellent health, a high prevalence of able-bodied seniors, a low premature death rate, a low prevalence of full-mouth tooth extractions, and few poor mental health days per month. Minnesota’s challenges are low community support expenditures and a low prevalence of seniors with a dedicated health care provider. In America’s Health Rankings®— 2012 Edition, a comparison of the general health of the entire population of each state, Minnesota ranked 5th. For further details, see Minnesota’s state summary.
Mississippi ranks in the bottom 5 states for 14 of the 34 measures, including ranking last for a low rate of annual dental visits, a high percentage of seniors in poverty, a high percentage of marginal food insecurity, a low percentage of seniors who report very good or excellent health, a low prevalence of able-bodied seniors, and a high premature death rate. Mississippi ranks 50th for all health determinants combined, so it will be a difficult challenge for the state to improve it’s rank in the near future. Mississippi ranks well for a low prevalence of chronic drinking and a high prevalence of flu vaccination. Mississippi tied with Louisiana for 49th overall in America’s Health Rankings®— 2012 Edition. For further details, see Mississippi’s state summary.
The next 4 highest ranked states also scored in the top 5 for all health determinants combined. These states rank among the top 10 for many individual metrics and rarely rank in the bottom 10. They are consistently among the top states for the categories of Behaviors, Community & Environment, and Outcomes. The top 5 states have different mixtures of strengths and weaknesses, indicating that they achieve their healthy state rank through a variety of approaches. Similarly, the states that rank in the bottom 5 states for overall health also rank in the bottom 5 for all health determinants combined. Scores indicate the weighted number of standard deviation units a state is above or below the national norm. For example, Minnesota, with a score of 0.796, is almost one standard deviation unit above the national norm. Mississippi, with a score of -0.885, is almost one standard deviation below the national average.
The 34 measures that comprise America’s Health Rankings® Senior Report are of 2 types — determinants and outcomes. Determinants represent those actions that can affect the future health of the population, whereas outcomes represent what has already occurred either through death or disease. For a state to improve the health of its older adult population, efforts must focus on changing the determinants of health. If a state is significantly better in its score for eterminants than its score for outcomes, it will likely improve its overall health ranking in the future. Conversely, if a state is worse in its score for determinants than its score for outcomes, its overall health ranking will likely decline over time. View the comparison here.
Want to see how all states stack up on a certain measure? View by year? Or maybe compare two states? Simply use the dropdown menus to make your selections to narrow or expand your results.