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Gina-Marie Cheeseman headshot

Minneapolis -- the Healthiest City in the U.S.


Despite the harsh winters that to this California girl equate to Siberia, Minneapolis is the healthiest city to live in the U.S. Livability, the organization that works with communities to develop content marketing programs, ranked the Top 10 Healthiest Cities. The Minnesota city with a population just over 400,000 made the No. 1 spot on the list.

When ranking cities for the list, Livability considered two aspects. The first is health care in terms of access, quality and affordability. The second is how a city both promotes and enables a healthy lifestyle. To rank cities, the organization looked at data from the County Healthcare Rankings and spending data from Esri. In addition, Livability analyzed things like the adult obesity rate, the percentage of residents with access to healthy food, the number of hospitals and the ratio of doctors to residents.

Here's the full list:

  1. Minneapolis, Minnesota

  2. Cambridge, Massachusetts

  3. Madison, Wisconsin

  4. Miami, Florida

  5. Bridgeport, Connecticut

  6. Arlington, Virginia

  7. Santa Ana, California

  8. Honolulu, Hawaii

  9. Fort Collins, Colorado

  10. Yonkers, New York

Why Minneapolis ranks at the top

Given the criteria and data Livability looked at, why did Minneapolis make the top spot? The answer can be summed up in three words: its park system. Or in the words of the list: “Few cities are as devoted as Minneapolis to providing outdoor amenities to residents.” The park system covers almost 17 percent of the city. Last year, the Trust for Public Land ranked the park system the best in the country, the second year in a row it made the top spot.

Minneapolis has also been ranked as one of the country’s fittest cities. In 2013, the American College of Sports Medicine named the city the fittest metropolitan area in the U.S. in its American Fitness Index. In 2014, it made the No. 2 spot in the Index.

Minneapolis is more than just a fit city. It also ranks high in healthy behaviors. In Hennepin County, which includes Minneapolis, less than 14 percent of residents smoke, and over 87 percent regularly participate in physical activities. The city has a high ratio of doctors, dentists and mental health care providers. Residents have access to 19 acute care hospitals within 60 miles. Less than 11 percent of the city’s residents are uninsured and the majority get annual checkups and health screenings, but they spend 16.8 percent less than the national average on health care related services and goods.

Minneapolis is also filled with clean air and unpolluted drinking water. It made the Smart Home Design Center’s list of the 10 cleanest cities in the world at the No. 5 spot. SHDC cites several ways the Midwestern city keeps its air so clean, including reducing the amount of exhaust from its light rail systems.

If this Cali girl wanted to relocate across the country, she would put Minneapolis at the top of her list. It would be worth braving the harsh winters to live in a healthy, fit and clean city.

Image credit: CameliaTWU

Gina-Marie Cheeseman headshotGina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by Mashable.com.

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