The Healthiest States in the U.S., Mapped

iStock
iStock

If you live in Massachusetts, pat yourself on the back. The state is the healthiest in the nation, according to the 2017 America’s Health Rankings, the United Health Foundation’s annual report on public health in the United States, spotted by Thrillist. The Bay State climbed up the ladder this year from second place, unseating Hawaii, which had held the top spot for the past five years.

The United Health Foundation’s health rankings, now in their 28th year, aim to provide a benchmark for public health across the U.S. Access to healthcare varies widely depending on where you live, and the rankings hammer that point home, as you can see from the graphic below.

A map is color-coded in blues to show where states fall on healthcare rankings.
United Health Foundation

The rankings determine the results based on 35 factors including physician availability, environmental conditions, community policies, and health outcome data to score states.

The healthiest states in the nation, according to the foundation’s findings, are Massachusetts, Hawaii, Vermont, Utah, and Connecticut. Mississippi is the most unhealthy state in the nation by these measures, followed by Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama, and West Virginia—underscoring previous research [PDF] that has found that the South has some of the worst public health outcomes in the nation.

Let’s say you’re looking for mental health treatment and you live in Massachusetts. You have more choice than residents of any other state when it comes to providers—there are more than 547 per 100,000 residents. Compare that to the choice in Alabama, where there are only 85 mental health providers for the same number of people. Eastern seaboard states like New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut have more than 200 primary care doctors per 100,000 people, whereas Utah and Idaho have less than 100 doctors per 100,000 residents.

The rankings are meant to help states determine where they have room to improve in their public health initiatives. Where does your state fall?

[h/t Thrillist]

The One-Day Record Snowfalls In Each State

Greenseas/iStock via Getty Images
Greenseas/iStock via Getty Images

Long after you’ve grown out of believing in magic, every thick, whirling snowstorm still seems to have been cast upon your town by a winter warlock (or Frozen’s resident ice queen, Elsa).

It’s also pretty magical when those inches of stacked snowflakes add up to a message from your manager telling you not to come into the office. In southern states like Georgia or Florida, sometimes all it takes is a light dusting.

But even those characteristically balmy places have hosted some serious snowstorms over the years, and David Cusick for House Method crunched the numbers to find out which ones made the record books. Using data from the National Centers for Environmental Information, Cusick created a map showing the one-day record snowfall for each state.

Florida finished in last place with a scant total of 4 inches, which occurred in Santa Rosa County on March 6, 1954. About two years before that, on January 14, 1952, Colorado had a staggering 76 inches—that’s more than 3 inches per hour—a national record that’s remained unchallenged for nearly 70 years.

Made with Flourish

But other states have come close. The snowstorm that hit Colorado in 1952 wreaked almost as much havoc in California, whose record from the same day was 75 inches. And Washington saw 70 inches of snow in November 1955, beating its 52-inch record from 1935 by a full 18 inches.

Though Midwestern states have gained a reputation for harsh, snowy winters, their one-day record snowfalls are surprisingly moderate. The Illinois and Indiana records are 24 and 26 inches, respectively, both slightly lower than Ohio’s 30-inch snow day from 1901. In 1993, North Carolina bested Ohio’s record by 6 inches.

Wondering how your individual county’s record compares to the overall state one? Cusick created a map for that, too, which you can explore below.

Made with Flourish

[h/t House Method]

Google Home vs. Alexa: Which Smart Device Does Your State Prefer?

Todd Williamson, Getty Images
Todd Williamson, Getty Images

If you're thinking of buying a loved one a smart home device for the holidays, you're likely considering two options: Google Home ($70)—a series of smart speakers from the tech giant—and Amazon Echo ($80)—which features the virtual voice assistant Alexa. You could do hours of research weighing the pros and cons of each gadget, or you could pick one based on where your giftee lives. The map below from ASecureLife.com breaks down where each state falls in the Google Home versus Alexa debate.

Map of Google Home vs. Alexa searches.
ASecureLife.com

To create the graphic, the home security company analyzed Google trends data related to searches for Google Home and Amazon Alexa in October 2019. The two terms are fairly evenly matched: Google Home just edges out Alexa with 51 percent of the total search volume nationwide compared to Alex's 49 percent.

The two devices are also spread out across the map. On the West Coast, California and Washington prefer Google, while Oregon likes Alexa. In the South, Alexa dominates Florida, Alabama, and North Carolina, while Google takes Mississippi, Georgia, and Tennessee. New England is split between the two: Google wins New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, and Alexa tops searches in Maine, Rhode Island, and Vermont. You can check out the full map above.

Google Home and Amazon Echo share a lot of the same capabilities, like connecting with the internet and other devices to set the thermostat, turn off the lights, play music, and answer questions. If your home state's search trends aren't enough to convince you to choose one over the other, you may have to look at more obscure details, such as which one is better at understanding accents and which has the best jokes.

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