By Carlotta Mohamed
Financial Technology Company SmartAsset released its second annual life insurance study on America’s healthiest places and Queens County made the list, ranking fifth in the state of New York.
To find America’s healthiest counties SmartAsset considered three factors: length of life, health behaviors and health-care access. It’s the second time Queens County has ranked fifth in both years, according to AJ Smith, SmartAsset’s vice president of financial education.
Smith said the purpose of the study is to get people to take control of their lives and personal finances, although it may be a difficult subject matter to discuss.
“We do studies like this to hopefully get people thinking and talking about these topics,” said Smith. “We want people to be able to understand their finances and whether they’re able to meet their financial goals.”
First in the study, the longevity factor measured life expectancy in a county, specifically at the rate of per 100,000 residents at which people died before the age of 75.
Second, a health behavior index was created for each county measured by three data points: the percentage of adults reporting binge or heavy drinking, current adult smokers and obesity.
Third, health-care access measured how healthy each county is and the study looked at the number of primary rate care physicians per 100,000 residents and the percentage of population under age 65 without health insurance.
“One of the factors that stood out was Queens County had the lowest percentage of excessive drinking in the top 10,” said Smith.
The study showed the excessive drinking rate for Queens was 15.4 percent.
In comparison to last year’s study, the rate of uninsured people (15.9 percent) was much lower this year according to Smith.
The overall health score for Queens was 84.55 with Manhattan taking the lead with a score of 91.96. The three other healthiest places in the state were Westchester (91.29), Nassau (90.92) and Rockland (88.92). The top healthiest county in the country is Los Alamos, N.M. (100.00).
SmartAsset used a weighted average of the three factors to provide an overall health score for each county. It used a 50 percent weighting for length of life, a 30 percent weighting for health behaviors and a 20 percent weighting for health-care access, which resulted in the highest final numbers reflecting the healthiest counties in the country.
Reach reporter Carlotta Mohamed by e-mail at cmoha