America the beautiful! All 50 states bring something unique and wonderful to the nation. From breezy beaches to sandy deserts, these states all have something that brings pride to their residents.
Let’s take a look at the 20 healthiest states in the United States.
Smoking rate: 12.60
Physical inactivity rate: 18.40%
Obesity rate: 28.00
Air quality index: 33.5
Between the impressive beach fronts and the beautiful mountain ranges, the state of Washington is an outdoor lover’s dream. Washington’s various environments make it easy for residents to engage in outdoor recreation. It is home to the longest continuous beach, Long Beach Peninsula, which includes sandy beaches like Alki Beach in Seattle and rocky beaches like Cama Beach in Camano. Washington is also the country’s leading producer of apples! They harvest billions of apples every year from an assortment of varieties including Red Delicious, Honeycrisp, Gala, Fuji, and Granny Smith. With all these apples, it’s no wonder they are at the top of the list!
Smoking rate: 12.30
Physical inactivity rate: 21.70%
Obesity rate: 24.50
Air quality index: 21.2
Hawaii locals have found many ways to keep active on the islands, most notably through surfing, whose origins have been highly accredited to Hawaii. The state has also adapted to allow for heavy pedestrian traffic and neighborhoods like Kaka’ako in Honolulu have become fully walkable with blocks of businesses, restaurants, and shops. Hawaii’s easygoing and carefree atmosphere mixed with its consistently sunny weather can also be attributed to its great health.
Smoking rate: 14.50
Physical inactivity rate: 20.80%
Obesity rate: 28.10
Air quality index: 36.1
Joining its northern neighbor, Oregon comes in at number three on our list. Oregon is home to the World’s Smallest Park, Mill Ends Park, which measures only two feet across. But have no fear, Oregon makes up for this tiny feat with over 100 state parks! Each park brings a unique Oregon experience from exploring the coast to hiking through the robust forests. Unlike its fictional counterpart Springfield, Oregon doesn’t have to worry about nuclear waste and actually brings some sunshine to this drizzly state. And despite the regular rainfall, Portland residents still find a way to get outside to bike around their beautiful city, putting Oregon in the top spot for the most bike-friendly city.
Smoking rate: 15.10
Physical inactivity rate: 19.60%
Obesity rate: 26.30
Air quality index: 38.5
Though it is little, it is healthy! Vermont is the second smallest state, but finds itself in the top five healthiest, regardless of what some of its most famous exports may be. Vermont is responsible for 35 percent of the United States’ maple syrup production! It produces about 2.55 million gallons a year, though its residents are probably only responsible for a very small fraction of the country’s consumption. Vermont is also home to one of the nation’s most popular ice cream companies, Ben and Jerry’s! And thanks to the state’s large population of dairy cows, it is still operated out of Waterbury. Vermont is full of breathtaking lakes, but the most popular is Lake Champlain, which runs from Vermont through New York and into Quebec. Lake Champlain has over 50 beaches and miles and miles of water for swimming, fishing, and kayaking.
Smoking rate: 10
Physical inactivity rate: 21.20
Obesity rate: 30.30
Air quality index: 46.0
Jumping back to the west coast, California’s diverse terrain and climates make it accessible to a wide variety of outdoor activities. Whether it’s climbing the mountains up north, surfing the tides along the coast, or exploring the National Parks, California will always have something to get you up and going! California is a very busy state, with an eighth of the country’s population calling it home, but there are plenty of cities that stay right outside the big cities like Los Angeles and still give you the full California experience. And for parents of four-legged friends, San Francisco is one of the most dog-friendly cities, even recording more pets than children in 2018!
Smoking rate: 12.00
Physical inactivity rate: 23.30%
Obesity rate: 24.40
Air quality index: 41.4
Massachusetts joins our list at number six, a lucky number for Massachusetts as it was the sixth state to join the United States. As expected, this pioneering state holds the title for a lot of famous firsts around the country, including the first post office, the first subway system, and the first Dunkin’ Donuts. It is also the birthplace of basketball and volleyball! Massachusetts has some popular locations that bring visitors, locals and tourists alike, including Harvard University and Fenway Park, but few people know of the state’s record-holding lake. Affectionately known as Webster Lake, Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg holds the record for the longest name of a place in the country! For most of the year, Webster is too cold to enjoy, but the city goes all out during the summer with camping, picnicking, and a snack bar for daily guests.
7. New York
Smoking rate: 12.70
Physical inactivity rate: 25.90%
Obesity rate: 26.30
Air quality index: 40.4
Jets or Giants? Yankees or Mets? Nets or Knicks? No matter where you live in New York, these questions will inevitably make their way into even the friendliest of conversations. New York is passionate about professional sports, but that is not the only thing this state has going for it. New York is home to many big tourist attractions like the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty, but locals know that the state’s best features are any of the over 7,000 rivers, lakes, and ponds. Though it is one of the smaller states, New York is the third most populated. New York City may be the most well-known, but the state is full of great cities so you can live as close to or as far from the Big Apple as you want!
8. New Jersey
Smoking rate: 10.80
Physical inactivity rate: 26.20%
Obesity rate: 27.70
Air quality index: 44.1
Moving just a bit down the coast, New Jersey is as unique as they come. This east coast state holds a very unusual title as the “Diner Capital of the World.” It gets this name from the estimated 500 diners around the state. New Jersey is known for its “small town” feel, which can be attributed to the dense population and proximity to fellow New Jerseyans. This state has approximately 130 miles of the Atlantic coastline, and it takes advantage of every inch. The New Jersey beaches have everything you are looking for, whether it’s walking the boardwalk in Atlantic City or taking the whole family to Point Pleasant.
Smoking rate: 14.60
Physical inactivity rate: 21.00%
Obesity rate: 30.70
Air quality index: 38.3
Make sure you grab your coat before deciding to live in this state! Minnesota is home to the coldest city in the United States. Minneapolis has about 24 sub-zero days per year, and the average winter high is 27 degrees Fahrenheit, seven degrees colder than the next coldest city. Despite the cold, Minnesotans still find a way to get outside to enjoy their beautiful state. Minnesota has about 4,000 paved biking trails, giving them more than any other state. The North Star Route runs from St. Paul to the Canadian border and passes through nine state parks and two national parks.
Smoking rate: 7.90
Physical inactivity rate: 18.20%
Obesity rate: 28.60
Air quality index: 51.2
Rounding out the top ten is our first mid-country state. Utah is one of the driest states, but any Utahan—or Utahn, depending on whom you ask—can tell you that this is not a disadvantage! The dry air helps Utah achieve the dry and powdery snow that gives the state the “Greatest Snow on Earth” title. This snow makes for an even more exhilarating snowboarding and skiing experience and locals know all the signs of a “Goldilocks” storm for the perfect conditions. Utah’s appreciation of nature does not end there. Utah is the only state that has at least part of a national park in every county and because of its unique location, you can experience three major land areas, the Rocky Mountains, the Basin and Ridge Region, and the Colorado Plateau, without leaving the state.
Smoking rate: 17.40
Physical inactivity rate: 20.80%
Obesity rate: 31.90
Air quality index: 29.1
Alaska is the country’s biggest state, but in some parts, you’re more likely to encounter a bear before you encounter another human! Alaska is the least densely populated state, with only about one person per square mile, making for a whole lot of land to explore. There are over 10,000 rivers and about three million lakes across the state, including Lake Iliamna, the third-largest lake in the United States. Lake Iliamna is 77 miles long, making it longer than the entire state of Connecticut! Alaska is also known for its great view of The Northern Lights. From August through April, Alaskans and tourists can catch a glimpse of this breathtaking phenomenon.
Smoking rate: 13.50
Physical inactivity rate: 17.70%
Obesity rate: 24.20
Air quality index: 47.1
The next state is a bit of a climb! Colorado has an average elevation of 6,800, making it the highest state in the country. Even its capital sits a mile above sea level. Due to its unique border, the Centennial State is one of four states that make up the Four Corner Monument. Colorado is home to four national parks all open for fishing and camping and is probably best known for its access to the beautiful Rocky Mountains where hikers enjoy over 300 miles of trails.
Smoking rate: 15.70
Physical inactivity rate: 26.00%
Obesity rate: 28.70
Air quality index: 42.1
Although it’s nicknamed the Silver State, Nevada is the largest producer of gold in the country! Its wide-open spaces make for prime mining and there is a high possibility of finding silver and gold all around the state. Best known for the city of Las Vegas, Nevada has much more to offer than the razzle-dazzle of Sin City, whether it’s chasing extraterrestrials in Area 51 or skiing the slopes at Lake Tahoe.
14. New Hampshire
Smoking rate: 15.90
Physical inactivity rate: 21.50%
Obesity rate: 29.90
Air quality index: 38.9
New Hampshire is a state of many names but there is no mistaking this little state’s big impact on the country. New Hampshire sits in the middle of the New England region and only has 18 miles of coastline, but what it lacks in beaches, it makes up for in forests. New Hampshire is approximately 81 percent forest and has miles of hiking trails and campgrounds throughout the wooded area.
15. Rhode Island
Smoking rate: 13.30
Physical inactivity rate: 25.30%
Obesity rate: 30.10
Air quality index: 43.7
Being the smallest state, Rhode Island has a way of making sure nothing you need is ever too far out of reach. If you’re looking for a sweet treat, Providence has got you covered with more donut shops per person than any other city! You might even find yourself enjoying a cup of coffee milk while you’re there. If you are wanting to experience Rhode Island’s cool climate, 100 percent of Central Falls residents live within 10 minutes of a park or green space! For the history buffs, the oldest restaurant in the country, The White Horse Tavern is still up and running in Newport.
Smoking rate: 12.70
Physical inactivity rate: 22.60%
Obesity rate: 29.20
Air quality index: 45.0
It’s easy to be a pioneer when you are one of the first colonies to become a state and Connecticut has given the country many great firsts, including an American staple; the hamburger! Connecticut is also home to the last steam-powered cider mill, B.F. Clyde’s Cider Mill, which continues to keep Nutmeggers warm throughout the fall season. The unique geographical makeup of the state gives Connecticut residents plenty of variety for getting outside. From the hills in the Western Uplands to the valleys in Central Lowland and the rivers in the Eastern Upland, Connecticut’s landscape is enough to keep anyone on their feet.
Smoking rate: 16.60
Physical inactivity rate: 21.50%
Obesity rate: 28.50
Air quality index: 39.6
Montana has the largest variety of mammals of any state, but surprisingly, humans are not the number one type! Due to the low population density and a high need for cattle, Montana’s cows outnumber humans by about 2.6 to 1. No need to worry! Montana lives up to its “Big Sky” name and there’s enough open land for all creatures and humans to live in harmony.
Smoking rate: 17.60
Physical inactivity rate: 24.80%
Obesity rate: 31.00
Air quality index: 36.5
With Maine coming in at number eighteen, every New England state has made it on our list! Unlike the other New England states before it, Maine has a very low population density. In fact, it is the least dense population on the entire east coast! Anyone who knows Maine knows about its lobster. This coastal state is responsible for about 90 percent of the nation’s lobster supply and you can find the local delicacy served in some form in almost every restaurant in the state.
Smoking rate: 12.70
Physical inactivity rate: 23.20
Obesity rate: 31.00
Air quality index: 47.0
Home to some of America’s most famous icons like Francis Scott Key, Edgar Allan Poe, and Babe Ruth, Maryland just makes the list at number nineteen. Famously known for its vast array of topography, Maryland has sometimes been referred to as “Little America.” From sandy dunes in the east, Chesapeake Bay’s marshlands, and the pine groves in the west, Maryland is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream!
Smoking rate: 14.70
Physical inactivity rate: 24.30%
Obesity rate: 34.00
Air quality index: 37.0
Filling the last spot on our list is Nebraska. This landlocked state may be better known for its prairie land, but it has more miles of rivers than any other state! The Republican River, the Platte River, and the River Niobrara all run across the entire state. In addition to its surprising amount of water activity, Nebraska also has the largest hand-planted forest. The birthplace of Arbor Day, this state is dedicated to planting new trees every year.
Jessi Gonzalez writes on the topics of home-buying, home decor, and home-ownership for New Home Source. She has a degree from Coastal Bend College and is currently enrolled in the English degree program at Texas A&M Corpus Christi.