Well-Being Longevity

Here are the 10 states with the least healthy populations

Story at a glance


  • A new survey from Forbes Advisor ranked all 50 states from least healthy to most healthy.  

  • Survey crafters determined that West Virginia, followed by Mississippi and Kentucky, have the three least healthy populations in the entire nation.  

  • Meanwhile, Hawaii and Utah are the two healthiest states, according to the survey.  

West Virginia has the least healthy population out of all 50 states, according to a new Forbes Health survey, with Mississippi and Kentucky coming in a close second and third.  

To figure out which states have the healthiest people, the Forbes Advisor team looked at data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the Kaiser Family Foundation.  


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Survey crafters then ranked all 50 states along 21 metrics falling under three main categories: substance abuse, lifestyle habits and health outlook, and disease prevalence and mortality rate.  

West Virginia has the highest prevalence of illness and death from chronic diseases in the nation, according to the survey.  

The Mountain State also has the second lowest average life expectancy out of all 50 states at 73.9 years.

West Virginia has the highest rate of drug overdose deaths in the country, with 57.13 per 100,000 state residents, and the highest percentage of adult smokers at 22.8 percent.  

The state also has the second-highest percentage of obese adults — 39.8 percent, according to the survey.  

Forbes Advisor found that nine out of the country’s 10 least healthy states are in the South, including Mississippi, Kentucky, Alabama, Tennessee, Louisiana, and South Carolina.  

Meanwhile, Forbes analysts ranked Hawaii as the healthiest state in the nation.  

A recent NiceRx study found that Hawaii has the longest average life expectancy out of any other U.S. state, with residents expected to live until 80.7 years of age.  

Other healthy states include Utah, California, Colorado and Washington state, according to Forbes Advisor.  

But while the western part of the country is home to several healthy states, it is also where the five worst states for substance abuse are located: Oregon, Alaska, Colorado, Nevada and Washington state.  

Here are the 10 least healthy states in the country:  

1. West Virginia 

2. Mississippi 

3. Kentucky 

4. Alabama 

5. Arkansas 

6. Tennessee 

7. Louisianna 

8. Oklahoma 

9. South Carolina 

10. Ohio