Health & Wellness

Union County Ranks As Eighth Healthiest in State

Dr. Bob Atkins, director of New Jersey Health Initiatives Credits: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Dr. Atkins with Toni Lewis, community coach Credits: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

ELIZABETH, NJ – Union County ranks as the eighth healthiest in the state according to the eighth annual County Health Rankings, released March 29 by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

Hunterdon County ranks healthiest in New Jersey and Cumberland County is the least healthy county in the state. The rankings are available at

“New Jersey’s health improvement plan, Healthy New Jersey 2020, empowers local communities with interactive data to monitor health improvements and track progress on disease prevention,” New Jersey Health Commissioner Cathleen Bennett said. “State grants to local communities are funding innovative projects to keep the well healthy, support those at risk for health problems and prevent those with chronic conditions from getting sicker.”

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Last summer, members of the Governor's cabinet formed the Population Health Action Team to advance policies and grant opportunities to build healthy communities and improve health outcomes. “The local level data makes it clear that good health is influenced by many factors beyond medical care including housing, education, jobs, access to healthy foods, and more,” said Bennett.

Among the factors measured, Union County residents have 100 percent access to exercise compared to 95 percent statewide. Alcohol-related deaths were slightly higher, 27 percent to 24 percent across the state. Premature deaths, a focus of this year’s rankings, were lower in Union County than others in the state, 4900 to 5500.

CDC Releases Groundbreaking, Neighborhood-by-Neighborhood Health Data for Elizabeth

In addition, there is now first-of-a -kind data estimates for 27 chronic disease measures down to neighborhood level. This development provides public health professionals, public officials, city planners, nonprofits, and other community leaders an opportunity for more effective and efficient health improvement efforts.

The new, interactive data—released for 500 of the largest cities across the United States—represents a watershed opportunity for communities to gain an additional perspective on how specific city areas fare on chronic disease measures such as smoking, obesity, mammogram and cholesterol screening rates and other factors that impact health. 

The 500 Cities data, released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, CDC Foundation, and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is the first time that such data is available for cities and small areas within cities. A series of interactive maps allow users to see where chronic diseases are unique to a specific area or overlap across communities. To view Elizabeth’s maps, click Elizabeth Data.

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