Minnesota Ranked Fourth Healthiest State in 2016

State holds on to fourth spot in annual ranking from United Health Foundation.

As the lights go out on 2016, is your health better, worse or the same as it was at the end of last year? Collectively for Minnesotans, the answer is the same, and that’s pretty good.

Minnesota finished fourth this year in the United Health Foundation’s annual ranking of the healthiest states. It’s the same rank the state held in 2015. In fact, it’s Minnesota’s 26th consecutive finish in the top 10 since the United Health Foundation began publishing American’s Health Rankings in 1990.

The state rankings are based on composite health score using 27 core and 25 supplemental health measures in five categories: behaviors, community and environment, policy, clinical care and health outcomes. A perfect score is 1.0, and Minnesota came in fourth at 0.727 behind Hawaii (0.905), Massachusetts (0.760) and Connecticut (0.747).

Minnesota’s four border states finished much further down the list. North Dakota was 11th; Iowa was 17th; Wisconsin was 20th; and South Dakota was 24th.

This year’s report from the United Health Foundation credited Minnesota for having a low rate of drug deaths, a low percentage of children in poverty and a low percentage of uninsured residents. On the negative side, the report cited three challenges the state needs to overcome to hold on to fourth place:

  • High prevalence of excessive drinking
  • High incidence of pertussis (whooping cough)
  • Low per-capita public health funding

The 160-page report also noted that the percentage of adult Minnesotans who smoke tobacco has dropped steadily over the past 26 years while the percentage of adults in the state who are obese has increased steadily since 1990.