Call Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket home? US News & World Report just ranked these two island communities the healthiest in the state.
In its third annual “500 Healthiest Communities” rankings, US News listed three Massachusetts counties in the top 100, taking into account economic, educational, and environmental factors, as well as other social determinants of health.
Dukes County, which represents six towns on Martha’s Vineyard and one on the Elizabeth Islands, was ranked 39th, followed by Nantucket County, which placed 62d. A little further down the list was Norfolk County, ranked 75th. The five communities that topped the list were Los Alamos County in New Mexico, Douglas County in Colorado, Falls Church city in Virginia, and Broomfield and Routt counties in Colorado.
Five other Massachusetts counties made the cut for the top 500, including Middlesex County (116th), Hampshire County (127th), Barnstable County (157th), Franklin County (385th), and Berkshire County (390th). While Suffolk County didn’t make the big list, it was ranked second in the country for access to health care.
Here’s how Massachusetts and other New England counties stacked up in the top 100 of the rankings:
39. Dukes County, Mass.
55. Rockingham County, N.H.
62. Nantucket County, Mass.
69. Addison County, Vt.
75. Norfolk County, Mass.
76. Washington County, R.I.
83. Middlesex County, Conn.
90. Bristol County, R.I.
Sagadahoc County was the highest ranked from Maine at 205th in the overall rankings.
The project scored nearly 3,000 counties on 84 indicators across 10 categories that drive overall community health, including population health, equity, education, economy, housing, food and nutrition, environment, public safety, community vitality, and infrastructure. Population health and equity are the most heavily weighted categories, according to US News. Communities were scored on a 100-point scale across each of the 10 categories.
Dukes County, with a population of about 16,535, received an overall score of 78, scoring highly in the categories of education, community vitality, and infrastructure. Equity and housing received the lowest scores.
Nantucket County, with its population of about 10,172, scored similar stats. It received an overall score of 76, with the categories of population health and economy scoring the highest, and housing and equity scoring the lowest.
Norfolk County, with a much bigger population of 670,850, received an overall score of 75, with population health, education, and economy scoring the highest, and equity scoring the lowest.
This year’s healthiest communities rankings were compiled in collaboration with the Aetna Foundation and the University of Missouri Extension Center for Applied Research and Engagement Systems.