Teton County residents live in the healthiest rural community in the country, according to a US News and World Report ranking, reports the Jackson Hole News and Guide. The rankings compare communities with others across the nation of similar geographic status and economic strength. It’s the second year in a row Teton County was named the healthiest among its rural counterparts.
“People who live in rural communities are more likely to own their homes and live in the state where they were born than those in urban areas, according to the U.S. Census Bureau,” a summary reads. “And while access to care and transportation barriers can pose challenges, residents of rural communities with high-performing economies typically live in healthier natural environments and fare better in terms of housing than their urban counterparts.”
Categories included in the ranking are population health, equity, education, economy, housing, food and nutrition, environment, public safety, community vitality, and infrastructure. Out of those categories, Teton County scored the lowest in equity and housing.
Compared with all counties nationwide, not just rural, Teton County comes in sixth. That’s an improvement from ninth place in 2016. The jump in part can be attributed to improvements in food insecurity and uninsured rates tracked in the health department’s Healthy Teton County initiative. Years ago, she said, 23% of the population was uninsured. That has decreased to 15% in recent years.
Chaffee County, CO; Morgan County, UT; Routt County, CO; and Jefferson County, MT make up the rest of the top 5. The “rural” classification means the places are not metropolitan or micropolitan — areas with substantial central populations and integrated adjacent communities — or are home to fewer than 20 people per square mile.