How they got the numbers: MONEY got to the heart (ahem) of what makes a place healthy by looking at towns with low rates of chronic illness and common ailments such as heart disease and obesity, along with numbers of doctors and hospitals in the area, a high percentage of residents with health insurance, and even how many locals reported that they felt healthy. To read more about MONEY’s ranking methodology, go here.
Half of the healthiest cities in the country were inland—including #1 Highlands Ranch, Colorado—but it’s our belief that, if you’re going to be healthy, it’s easiest to do it on the coast, where you can take long, scenic jogs by the water, explore secluded hiking paths, and enjoy the breeze on winding bike trails.Read on for which five towns do it the healthiest!
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#5: St. Augustine, Florida
Ranked #10 overall on the MONEY list, St. Augustine, Florida—one of our happiest seaside towns of 2014!—is the oldest continuously occupied city in the United States (a type of longevity on its own). MONEY's researchers cite a low rate of heart disease-caused deaths as one of the healthful benefits of living in lovely St. Augustine.
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#4: San Rafael, California
The lovely Marin County city of San Rafael, California, ranked #9 on MONEY’s full list. Perched just north of San Francisco, the nearly 60,000 residents here have an adult obesity level lower than that of most of the U.S. The panoramic Bay views and cool temperatures year-round don't hurt, either.
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#3: Quincy, Massachusetts
Making MONEY's Top 5 Healthiest Places To Live in the U.S. (at #5) is historic Quincy, Massachusetts. Just south of Boston, Quincy residents can get to the water for great views and New England breezes, and the city has among the lowest rate of diabetes-related deaths nationwide.
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#2: Greenwich, Connecticut
Number three overall in MONEY’s ranking, Greenwich, Connecticut, sits on the border of Connecticut and New York, on Long Island Sound. Among its claims to health fame? Greenwich ranks very high for the number of hospitals with more than 500 beds within 15 miles, meaning its more than 62,000 residents are never too far from a doctor in an emergency.
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#1: Koolaupoko, Hawaii
The healthiest coastal place—literally not a town, but a district of Hawaii—is number two on MONEY’s list, and Ko‘olaupoko, Hawaii, has plenty to recommend it. Perched on the stunning Pacific Ocean, Ko‘olaupoko is north of Honolulu on Oahu, and this district made up of four windward towns has one of the lowest rates of cancer deaths in the country. You might feel healthier just looking at that view.