New Rankings Show Healthiest & Least Healthy Counties in Texas


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It is a well-known fact: where you live impacts your overall well-being.

Environment greatly impacts health, education, employment, access to opportunity, and long-term success.

Latinos often face inequities and disparities due to barriers created by their environments. Many have to live in low-income and high-poverty and high-crime neighborhoods with little access to healthy food and physical activity opportunities.

A recent ranking has determined the healthiest and least healthy counties in the heavily Latino populated state of Texas (38.42% Latino population).

In order to reduce health disparities, it is critical to address inequities in programs, practices, and policies. Join our site, connect with others, and get involved.

According to newly released data from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as part of their annual County Health Rankings, reported by, the healthiest counties in Texas are: Collin (15.01%), Hartley (25.55%), Denton (18.85%), Williamson (23.79%), and Travis (33.74%), which is home to the state capital, Austin.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the least healthy counties are: Duval (88.54%), San Augustine (6.92%), Real (20.05%), Brooks (92.85%), and Baylor (8.88%).

“Someone said, ‘if you don’t know where you are, and don’’ know where you are going – any road will get you there,’” said Camille Miller, Texas Health Institute president and CEO in an interview with “County Health Rankings lets us know where we are and where we want to go so we can use our community resources more efficiently and effectively to get there.”

The data contained in the study is extensively researched, but serves as an easy-to-use snapshot that compares counties within states. It strikingly points out where people reside and how that influences how well and how long one lives.

“Local data illustrates an array of influences affecting health beyond medical care, including housing, education, jobs, access to healthful foods, and more,” the study’s authors said. “This year we took a closer look at premature deaths, or deaths that occur among people under age 75.”

In examining the premature death rates in Texas from 1997-2014; of the 254 counties in Texas, 99 saw improvement in premature deaths while 22 worsened. The rest remained unchanged.

This year’s ranking also introduced the measure which focused on young people (age 16-24) that are either not in school or working. According to the findings, 4.9 million young people (1 in 8) fall into this category.

“Communities addressing issues such as poverty, unemployment, and education can make a difference creating opportunities for all youth and young adults,” said Julie Willems Van Dijk, director of the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps. “The County Health Rankings are an important springboard for conversations on how to do just that.”

The full rankings are available here.

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