Illinois Health Ratings Show Poverty is Biggest Factor

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (IRN) – A new study ranks Illinois counties by how health their people are.

The healthiest counties are Kendall and DuPage, with few poor people. The unhealthiest are Alexander and Pulaski, where poverty is high, according to County Health Rankings released today (Wednesday) by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. This is not a coincidence, says Julie Willems Van Dijk, a University of Wisconsin researcher who crunched the Illinois numbers.

“Social and economic factors are probably the largest contributors to how long we live and how healthy we live, more important than even access to and quality of medical care,” she says.

The study took into account air quality, rates of smoking and obesity, lifespan and how healthy people feel, as well as rates of crime and high school graduation.

The Top 10 healthiest counties are Kendall, DuPage, Woodford, McHenry, Jo Daviess, Monroe, McDonough, Lake, Kane and Henry. The Top 10 unhealthiest counties are Alexander, Pulaski, Hardin, Saline, Vermilion, Franklin, Edwards, Marion, Saint Clair and Hamilton.

The full list is at

KMOX’s report on Missouri’s health ratings can be found here.


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