Study Details Iowa’s Healthiest (and Least Healthy) Counties

(Radio Iowa) A new report says northwest Iowa’s Sioux County is the healthiest county in the state, while Montgomery County, in the southwest, ranks last. The County Health Rankings and Roadmaps report rates counties’ health outcomes nationwide based on a range of factors. Michael Stevenson, with the University of Wisconsin’s Population Health Institute — which produces the report, says Iowa’s top-ranked counties all have the same things in common.

Stevenson says, “They often have access to good civic infrastructure, so higher access to broadband, better access to parks and rec facilities, and they also tend to have higher rates of civic participation, so things like voter turnout.” Stevenson says Iowa’s overall voter turnout is higher than the national average, but there’s a lot of variation in rates at the county level.

“Iowa voter turnout varied from 60.8% to 90.2%, depending on where you live,” he says, “and our data showed that there’s a strong connection between that turnout data and the infrastructure that we have in place to facilitate participation.” The report lists Iowa’s top five healthiest counties as: Sioux, Winneshiek, Dallas, Mitchell and Hancock, while the bottom-ranked five are: Pottawattamie, Lee, Clarke, Appanoose and last, Montgomery.
(Natalie Krebs, Iowa Public Radio)