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June 22, 2022

Montgomery County ranks among nation's 500 healthiest, per U.S. News

In Southeastern Pennsylvania, Bucks and Chester counties also made the annual list. Burlington County was the sole South Jersey representative

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500 Healthiest Communities Thom Carroll/For PhillyVoice

Montgomery County ranks No. 80 on U.S. News & World Report's latest ranking of the 500 healthiest communities in the United States. Above, people exercise at Valley Forge National Historical Park.

Three Southeastern Pennsylvania counties and another in South Jersey rank among the 500 healthiest communities in the United States, according to U.S News & World Report. 

Montgomery County topped all counties in the Philadelphia region by landing in the 80th spot in the publication's  2022 rankings, released Wednesday. Chester County came in at No. 92 and Bucks County ranked No. 205. Burlington County earned the 250th spot.

U.S. News evaluated nearly 3,000 counties on 84 health-related metrics in 10 categories, including population health, equity, education, infrastructure and environment. Los Alamos County, New Mexico, topped the list. 

Montgomery, Chester and Bucks counties each earned their highest marks in education, economy and population health.

Montgomery and Chester counties' lowest score was in the equity category, which considers disparities in income, education and health. Bucks County's lowest score came in the environment category, which assess air and water quality, park access and environmental risk.

Burlington County's best marks were in the education, economy and infrastructure categories, with its lowest score in the environment category.

The population health category assessed access to care, healthy behaviors, health conditions and health outcomes. The education category measured the strength of the community's education system and the education level of its residents. The economy category examined various employment and income metrics.

The rankings, a collaboration with the Aetna Foundation, are designed to highlight the policies that give residents the best opportunity to live a productive, healthy life, U.S. News said.

This year's report also incorporated data on the COVID-19 pandemic and racial groups that are at-risk from natural disasters. 

Indigenous people have the highest risk of natural hazards, and are particularly at risk of sustained colder temperatures, droughts, floods and wildfires, the analysis found. Black people are at higher risk of heat waves, hurricanes and coastal floods.

Communities with higher per capita rates of COVID-19 deaths have lower rates of postsecondary education and lower life expectancy. Those with high rates of vaccination had lower COVID-19 death rates. 

U.S. News partnered with the University of Missouri Center for Applied Research and Engagement Systems to analyze data gathered from various sources, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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