Hawaii and Mississippi

Hawaii is the healthiest state for older adults, and Mississippi is the least healthy, according to United Health Foundation’s 2019 “America’s Health Rankings Senior Report.”

The 112-page report offers an analysis of the health of older adults on a national and state-by-state basis across 34 core measures.

The highest-ranked states:

  • Hawaii (1)
  • Utah
  • Connecticut
  • Minnesota
  • Colorado

The lowest-ranked states:

  • West Virginia
  • Oklahoma
  • Louisiana
  • Kentucky
  • Mississippi (50)

Hawaii’s placement in the top spot, the same position it held in 2018, was driven by high rankings in the behaviors, policy and health outcomes categories, according to the report. Mississippi’s ranking, the authors said, was due to low government spending for supports such as personal care, a high senior poverty rate and a high early death rate.

Since the first “Senior Report” was released in 2013, Rhode Island has made the most progress, improving 23 places from No. 30 to No. 7, the authors said. Wisconsin, California and Montana also have made great strides, whereas Kansas, Nebraska, North Carolina and Iowa have fallen the most in rankings.

Other highlights of the report:

  • The 65+ population has grown 45% since 2000. There are now more than 50 million older adults living in the United States today.
  • The number of personal care and home health aides has increased 44% since 2013, from 93.8 to 135.5 workers per 1,000 adults aged 75+.
  • There are approximately 550,000 more home healthcare workers nationwide in 2019 than there were in 2018.
  • The number of hospice care workers has increased 48% since 2013, from 36.7 to 54.4 percent of Medicare decedents aged 65+.
  • Medicare hospice use has increased in all 50 states and the District of Columbia since 2013.

The report was developed in collaboration with an advisory group of public health leaders and in partnership this year with the Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses Association.