Healthiest Communities Rankings: Indigenous people most at risk for natural disasters
In the United States, Indigenous people have the highest risks from natural hazards, according to this year’s Healthiest Communities Rankings report.
The report includes natural disaster risk information for the first time in response to the “growing threat of climate change,” according to a press release.
The Healthiest Communities Rankings, compiled by U.S. News and World Report and CVS Health, is based on an analysis of about 3,000 communities across the country. It incorporates 89 health and health-related metrics in 10 categories, including education, population health, infrastructure and environment.
“The data behind the Healthiest Communities rankings provides a deep dive into the state of health equity in our country,” Kim Castro, editor and chief content officer at U.S. News, said in the release. “By examining data on natural hazards, we can see how various demographic populations are affected by the risks tied to their environment.”
For Indigenous people, the report highlighted increased risks for “sustained periods of colder temperatures, droughts, river and stream flooding and wildfires compared with other racial and ethnic groups,” the release said.
The report also includes COVID-19 data for each county, with metrics like vaccination rates, cases and deaths, and connections between the social determinants of health, mental health and overall well-being. It showed that communities with lower scores in the mental health subcategory had lower life expectancies and higher rates of poverty, and rural communities were more likely to have higher proportions of adults reporting frequent mental distress.
“We all know the significant impact that social determinants have on the health and well-being of individuals and our local communities,” Joneigh Khaldun, vice president and chief health equity officer of CVS Health, said in the release. “The data we collect helps us determine the best way to collaborate with communities to develop sustainable solutions and advance health equity in a way that meets their unique needs.”
Los Alamos County, New Mexico, was ranked the No. 1 healthiest community for the third year running. Falls Church, Virginia, and Douglas County, Colorado, took the second and third spots, respectively. Each of these counties has previously been ranked first, according to the release.
The top 10 healthiest communities are:
- Los Alamos County, New Mexico
- Falls Church, Virginia
- Douglas County, Colorado
- Morgan County, Utah
- Carver County, Minnesota
- Sioux County, Iowa
- Ozaukee County, Wisconsin
- Hamilton County, Indiana
- Broomfield County, Colorado
- Delaware County, Ohio
The full list can be found here.