Detroit named unhealthiest city in America

Location matters when it comes to health.

And a recent study showed just that when it named Detroit the unhealthiest city in the US.

A new review, compiled by WalletHub, named the Motor City the worst when it came to providing for the physical needs and mental health of its residents.

The bottom five all fell in the south: Brownsville, Texas; Memphis, Tennessee; Laredo, Texas; and Shreveport, Louisiana.

Meanwhile, San Francisco once again took the top grade as the healthiest out of the country’s 150 most populated cities.

It was followed by four other Western cities: Salt Lake City, Utah; Scottsdale, Arizona; Seattle, Washington; and Portland, Oregon.


1. San Francisco, California

2. Salt Lake City, Utah

3. Scottsdale, Arizona

4. Seattle, Washington

5. Portland, Oregon

6. Irvine, California

7. Huntington Beach, California

8. Honolulu, Hawaii

9. Washington, DC

10. Santa Clarita, California 


1. Detroit, Michigan

2. Brownsville, Texas

3. Memphis, Tennessee

4. Laredo, Texas

5. Shreveport, Louisiana

6. Corpus Christi, Texas

7. North Las Vegas, Nevada

8. Newark, New Jersey 

9. Toledo, Ohio

10. Augusta, Georgia  

To reach its findings, WalletHub compared the 150 most populated cities across four key dimensions: health care, food, fitness and green space.

The study looked at several categories including cost of medical visits, premature-death rates, number of healthy restaurants per capita, cost of gym memberships, and the number of running and walking trails. 

After assessing each city’s provisions, the researchers provided grades out of 100.

San Francisco earned a 68.06 out of 100 while Detroit scored just 28.37 out of 100. 


Many ‘unhealthy’ cities were ranked among the top for lowest cost of medical visits and cities in California took the top six spots when it came to the lowest premature-death rate

Many of the cities that were ranked as ‘unhealthy’ were also named as the cities with lowest cost of medical visits, with Jacksonville, Florida, coming in first.

However, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which was ranked 104 out of 150, was named the city with the highest cost. 

Premature death is the age-adjusted loss of years of life due to death before age 75. So for example, the death of a 25-year-old would account for 50 years of lost life.

Nationally, 7,054 years were lost before the age of 75 per 100,000 population, according to 2016 rankings.

California cities took the top six spots when it came to the lowest premature-death rates in the US with a statewide total of 5,528.

Although states like Alabama and West Virginia annually have over 10,000 years lost per 100,000 population, Baltimore, Maryland took the top spot for highest premature-death rate

Richmond, Virginia came in first for the most mental health counselors while cities in Texas took the bottom six spots 

One of the biggest differences came in the number of mental health counselors per capita in the US.

Richmond, Virginia, ranked first with 1,960 mental health counselors employed according to a 2015 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Meanwhile, Texas cities took the bottom six spots. Richmond had 15 times the number of health counselors than San Antonio had.

In 2014, the Department of State Health Services sponsored a bill that documented the mental health workforce shortage in Texas and calling for the need to expand it.


West coast cities fared well when it came to the lowest percentage of adults eating less than one serving of fruits and vegetables per day, while southern cities ranked among the worst

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, people in the US should consume between five and nine servings of fruits and vegetables each day.

In California, and other west coast states, that seemed to be the case, with cities in the Golden Sate, Oregon and Washington taking the top seven spots for the lowest percentage of adults eating less than one serving of fruits and vegetables per day.

Cities in southern states took the bottom five spots with Little Rock, Arkansas, coming in last.

The adult obesity rate in Arkansas is currently the sixth highest in the nation at 34.5 percent – up from 21.9 percent in 2000.

When it came to the most healthy restaurants per capital, Portland, Oregon, came out on top while Corpus Christi, Texas, ranked last.


 In an interesting twist, cities that were named towards the bottom of the ‘healthy list’ had the lowest average cost for a gym membership, while healthy cities had much higher costs

Interestingly enough, when it came to the average monthly cost of a gym membership, the unhealthier cities had lower costs while the healthier cities had higher costs.

El Paso, Texas, was ranked as the city with the lowest cost – and Brownsville, Texas (the second unhealthiest city in the US), was ranked third.

Meanwhile, Anchorage, Alaska was named the city with the highest cost for a membership. The healthiest city, San Francisco, was the third most expensive.

Although Seattle, Washington was the fourth healthiest city overall, it had the highest percentage of physcially active adults.

And despite Brownsville’s low gym membership cost, the city had the lowest percentage of physically active adults.


The largest difference between the top and bottom spots was when it came to running trails, with 54 times more trails in Washington, DC and Tallahassee, Florida than in El Paso, Texas

The difference between the cities with the most and fewest running and walking trails per capita was startling

Washington, DC, and Tallahassee, Florida, tied for first with the most running trails – with 54 times more trails than El Paso, which had the fewest.

El Paso also ranked first when it came to the least number of walking trails.