March 27, 2024

Annual Health Rankings Show Montgomery Among Healthiest Counties in Maryland and the United States

Annual Health Rankings Show Montgomery Among Healthiest Counties in Maryland and the United States

Montgomery County is one of healthiest counties in Maryland and in the United States, according to the annual County Health Rankings (CHR). The 2024 report does not provide a ranking for each county within a state, but does show metrics on how a county’s health outcomes and underlying factors are relative to other counties in their state and with nationwide metrics.

The CHR, a collaboration of the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, annually compares counties within each state on more than 30 factors that impact health. The factors include social determinants such as education, jobs, housing, exercise and commuting times.

“I am proud that we continue to be ranked among the healthiest counties in Maryland and in the United States, and I appreciate that the report acknowledged the importance of civic infrastructure, including broadband access, libraries and equity,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “We should acknowledge that we do have areas that we can improve but with our County health officials, hospitals, community based nonprofit health providers and other stakeholders working together, I know that improving health outcomes for our community’s residents remains a priority.”

Highlights from the 2024 report include:
  • Montgomery County has some of the lowest rates of premature death (from any cause), and higher life expectancy than the average in Maryland and the U.S. However, disparities continue to exist across racial and ethnic populations within the County.
  • Montgomery County has many healthier behaviors, including a lower percentage of adults who smoke, are obese or report being physically inactive, than most other jurisdictions across Maryland and the U.S.
  • Montgomery County has significantly lower teen birth rates.
  • Montgomery County has a higher ratio of primary care physicians, dentists and mental health providers per resident than Maryland and U.S. averages.
  • Montgomery County has higher vaccination rates and fewer preventable hospital stays than most jurisdictions.
  • Montgomery County has seen continued progress in reduction of air pollution.
Additionally, the County has many social and economic factors that rank better than state and national averages. These factors include median income, education, high school graduation rates, unemployment rates, deaths from injury—including motor vehicle crash rates, homicide and suicide rates, voter turnout and census participation.
  • Low rates of physical inactivity—Montgomery County has a 17 percent rate of physical inactivity, compared to Maryland at 21 percent and the United States at 23 percent.
  • High accessibility to exercise opportunities—Montgomery County has a 100 percent rate, compared to Maryland at 92 percent and the United States at 84 percent.
  • Low rates of alcohol-impaired driving deaths—Montgomery County has a 24 percent rate, compared to Maryland at 29 percent.
  • Low rates of uninsured residents--only 7 percent of Montgomery County residents are uninsured, compared to the United States at 10 percent.
Several factors influence how well and how long people live. These include behavioral habits such as physical activity, nutrition and smoking. Other factors reflect those from the built environment, such as access to affordable housing and well-paying jobs.

“We are excited to see that Montgomery County continues to rank as one of the healthiest communities in Maryland and the U.S.,” said Kisha Davis, County health officer. “The report highlights the benefits of healthy behaviors, access to healthcare, high rates of physical activity and social connectedness as protective factors in our community. This is an achievement to be celebrated. And while we celebrate this success, we also recognize that there continue to be disparities, especially in our communities of color. We continue to work to break down inequities so that everyone can enjoy these health benefits.”

To see the full report, visit the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps website.