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Study rates San Francisco as healthiest city in USA
city health

Three California cities – with San Francisco leading the way – made the top 10 of healthiest cities in America, based on a new report.

With more than seven in 10 U.S. adults being overweight and health care costs rising, the personal-finance website WalletHub has released its report on 2024’s Healthiest Cities in America, as well as expert commentary, to show where people are saving and costing themselves the most money.

WalletHub compared more than 180 of the largest U.S. cities across 41 key metrics. The data set ranges from the cost of a medical visit to fruit and vegetable consumption to the share of physically active adults.


Healthiest Cities

San Francisco came in at the top, earning recognition as the healthiest city in the country. Coming in at number two was Honolulu HI; followed by Seattle, WA; San Diego, CA; Washington, DC; Portland, OR; Denver, CO; Salt Lake City, UT; Scottsdale, AZ and at number 10, Irvine, CA.


Unhealthiest Cities

At the bottom of the list, the 10 unhealthiest cities included Huntington, WV at number 173, followed by Detroit, MI; Corpus Christi, TX; Fayetteville, NC; Augusta, GA; Shreveport, LA; Columbus, GA; Laredo, TX; Gulfport, MS; and at the very bottom of the list, Brownsville, TX.


Key Stats

Overland Park, Kansas, has the lowest share of physically unhealthy adults, which is 2.4 times lower than in Augusta, Georgia, the city with the highest.

Laredo, Texas, has the lowest cost per doctor’s visit, which is 3.1 times less expensive than in Juneau, Alaska, the city with the highest.

Portland, Maine, has the lowest share of adults eating fruits less than once daily, which is 1.6 times lower than in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the city with the highest.

Lubbock, Texas, has the lowest average monthly cost for a fitness-club membership, which is 8.8 times less expensive than in New York, the city with the highest.


“Staying healthy is a personal responsibility, and everyone should strive to eat nutritious food, exercise regularly and look after their mental health. However, where people live can have a big influence on how successful they are at staying in good health, so the best cities are the ones that provide the greatest access to high-quality healthcare, green spaces, recreation centers, and healthy food,” said Cassandra Happe, WalletHub Analyst. “San Francisco is the healthiest city in America, in part because it has the lowest share of obese adults in the country, at just 19 percent of the population. San Franciscans eat well and have good opportunities for exercise, too. San Francisco has the second-lowest share of people who eat less than one serving of fruits or vegetables per day, and 100 percent of the population lives reasonably close to a location where they can do some sort of physical activity.”

To view the full report, visit:


Expert Commentary

What are the most important factors to consider in choosing a city that is good for your health?

“From my perspective, I would consider three points on the top, affordability and cost of living, access to healthcare and quality of care, and safety and social support. A city that is affordable (in regard) to housing, medical, and daily expenses, allows a comfortable standard of living. It can reduce financial stress and lead to overall health and well-being. A city with easy access to healthcare and good quality of care eases the stress of being ill. Easy access to care and good quality of care are always the main aspects of health improvement. A safe city with strong social and community support is essential for mental health and emotional well-being. And strong social connections can provide certain support even during challenging times for individuals.”

Jia Yu, Ph.D. – Associate Professor, Southern Connecticut State University


What tips do you have for a person looking to embrace a more healthy lifestyle while on a budget?

“There is no cost to having a better and healthier life. The investment that you make is in sweat and learning how to cook healthily. The return is both the financial and the intangible value of having a longer time on earth with fewer diseases and problems. The cost of vegetables over noodles or rice can be as low as $2.50. This is generally cheaper than a frozen meal.”

Peter A. Muennig – Professor, Columbia University


What measures can local authorities undertake in order to improve local healthcare systems?

“There are a couple of suggestions the local authorities can make to improve local healthcare systems: Improve healthcare access to all residents, including low-income families, uninsured groups, (underserved) areas, etc. Enhance public health programs to raise awareness about preventive care, healthy lifestyle, and disease management to reduce the burden on healthcare facilities. Develop emergency response plans and infrastructure to effectively manage public health crises (such as the COVID-19 pandemic), natural disasters, and any other emergencies.”

Jia Yu, Ph.D. – Associate Professor, Southern Connecticut State University


“Prevention is the best cure. Improving local health systems starts with making your population healthier so that the existing health system is not overburdened. Pollution reduction efforts can include capping freeways with parks and filtering the air, diverting logistics hubs to areas outside of densely populated cities, increasing the amount of green space, increasing the number of bike lanes, increasing the number of bike share programs, and other modes of active transportation.”

Peter A. Muennig – Professor, Columbia University