While the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has been dominating the public health-related headlines over the past several months, there are still a whole host of other issues that contribute to the overall well-being of the world.

And while states' identities lately have been tied in with their coronavirus numbers, there are a number of factors not related to the outbreak that define which are the healthiest and unhealthiest places in America.

After a look at 30 different sources in categories like behaviors, community and environment, policy, clinical care, and outcomes, South Dakota finds itself right in the middle of the pack of the healthiest states - 25th overall.

When you find yourself halfway down the list, it indicates that there are both positives and negatives with the health scores in the Mount Rushmore State.

On the plus side, South Dakota is among the best places in America in seven different categories:

  • Frequent Mental Distress (Best in nation)
  • Frequent Physical Distress (Best in nation)
  • Drug Deaths (2nd best)
  • Pertussis (3rd best)
  • Air Pollution (4th best)
  • Low Birthweight (8th best)
  • Diabetes (9th best)

At the other end of the spectrum, South Dakota struggles in four key areas:  

  • Excessive drinking (3rd worst)
  • Salmonella (4th worst)
  • HPV immunizations (females) (7th worst)
  • Occupational fatalities (9th worst)

As for the places with the cleanest bills of health in America, the Northeast is well represented.


  1. Vermont
  2. Massachusetts
  3. Hawaii
  4. Connecticut
  5. Utah
  6. New Hampshire
  7. Minnesota
  8. New Jersey
  9. Washington
  10. Colorado

Not surprisingly, the South is home to a majority of the states that struggle most with health-related issues.


  1. Mississippi
  2. Louisiana
  3. Arkansas
  4. Alabama
  5. Oklahoma
  6. West Virginia
  7. Tennessee
  8. Kentucky
  9. South Carolina
  10. Indiana

COVID-19 Screening Center - Washington High School

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