America's Health Rankings, United Health Foundation Logo
United Health Foundation is excited to release the 30th edition of America’s Health Rankings® Annual Report. First published in 1990, America’s Health Rankings Annual Report provides the longest running state-by-state analysis of the nation’s health. Over the last 30 years, the model and measures used in the report have evolved as our understanding of public health has advanced. In addition to looking at recent changes in today’s health, this year’s report looks back at key successes and challenges experienced by the country over the past three decades, highlighting public health issues that have significantly impacted our communities.
The report provides a unique opportunity to track short- and long-term public health successes as well as identify current and emerging challenges at state and national levels. When reading the report, think beyond the rankings; every state, whether ranked first or last, has strengths and challenges. Additionally, each measure does not stand alone but rather influences and is influenced by other measures of health and everyday life.
America’s Health Rankings will continue to provide an evolving state and national snapshot to inform and drive action to build healthier communities.

Summary of Key Findings

Successes

Long-term Successes

Challenges

Long-term Challenges
  • Obesity among adults has increased 166% over the past 30 years.
  • Diabetes has reached its highest prevalence in Annual Report history.
  • Low birthweight remains a challenge.
Troubling trend reversals
  • The premature death rate has increased for five consecutive years after generally decreasing since 1990.
  • Cardiovascular deaths are on the rise after decreasing for over two decades.

Purpose and Objective

America’s Health Rankings’ purpose is to create widespread awareness of where states stand on important public health measures. To achieve this, comprehensive data are necessary to assess the current health of populations across the nation. The report uses a wealth of reputable data sources to produce a combination of key health-related measures across categories of health determinants and health outcomes.
  • Thirty-five measures of health are used to rank states. Over 25 additional measures track current and emerging issues such as e-cigarette use, severe housing problems and concentrated disadvantage.
  • Five categories of health comprise the rankings model: behaviors, community & environment, policy, clinical care and health outcomes.
  • Nineteen data sources are used including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and Current Population Survey.
The objective of the America’s Health Rankings Annual Report is to improve population health by:
  • Providing a benchmark for states. Each year the report presents trends, strengths, challenges and highlights of every state. In addition, the website offers a Core Measure Impact visual that displays all measures in order of impact on a state’s overall rank. This enables states to zoom in on health issues that have the largest impact on population health. With America’s Health Rankings Annual Report’s 30 years of data, individuals can monitor health trends over time and compare their state with neighboring states and the nation.
  • Stimulating action. The report is intended to drive change and improve health by promoting data-driven discussions among individuals, community leaders, the media, policymakers and public health officials. States can incorporate the report into their annual review of programs, and many organizations use the report as a reference when assigning goals for health-improvement plans.
  • Highlighting disparities. The state rankings show differences in health between states and among population groups at state and national levels. The report highlights disparities across states and among gender, age, race/ethnicity, education and income groups.

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