Mass. once again named healthiest state in the country

The Bay State earned top marks in categories like healthcare access and housing and transportation.

Five runners make their way up a footbridge connecting Massachusetts Avenue and the Esplanade. Blake Nissen/The Boston Globe

For the second year in a row, Massachusetts has been named the healthiest state in the country, according to a study from Boston University’s School of Public Health and the digital health company Sharecare. In particular, the Bay State excelled in providing healthcare access and housing and transportation.

Hawaii was ranked second by the study, followed by New Jersey, Maryland, and New York. The closest New England state to Massachusetts was Connecticut at number eight on the list. Maine was the lowest-ranked New England state at number 37. The five lowest-scoring states were Alabama, Kentucky, West Virginia, Arkansas, and Mississippi. 


The annual study, known as the Sharecare Community Well-Being Index, measures well-being through physical, financial, social, and community factors. “Social determinants” like food access, resources, healthcare, economic security, and housing and transportation are also measured. Essentially, a broad picture of America’s health is painted by combining information on individual health with community health. 

Data was collected from counties, metro areas, states, specific subpopulations and underserved healthcare communities. About 500,000 people were surveyed. The Sharecare Well-Being Index has collected over 4 million surveys since 2008. 

Massachusetts garnered top-ten scores in eight of the 10 domains measured in the study. The state ranked second in healthcare access, second in housing and transportation, third in sense of purpose, third in financial well-being, fourth in physical fitness, fifth in individual social well-being, fifth in community, and eighth in food access. 

The lowest scores awarded to Massachusetts came in economic security and in resource access. The economic security rating is determined by rates of employment, labor force participation, number of individuals with health insurance coverage, and household income above poverty level. Resource access is determined by the “quantity of libraries and religious institutions per 10,000 residents, employment rates for people over 65, and presence of grocery stores within 20 miles,” according to the study.


This is the third year that Sharecare and BU joined forces on the study. Over the past few years, it has shifted towards placing a greater emphasis on community well-being and the relationship between individual health and community health, Kimberly Dukes, executive director of the Boston University School of Public Health Biostatistics & Epidemiology Data Analytics Center, told the Boston Globe

Dukes is part of the group that formulated the study. In the coming years, Dukes told the Globe that researchers plan to expand the study to include climate change and Medicare/Medicaid data. 


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