Morris tops Hunterdon as ‘healthiest county’ in the state

Morris County was ranked as the healthiest county in New Jersey by the national organization — but the group stresses that the findings are from 2019 and thus had no data associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. That data will be present for the first time when next year’s rankings are released.

The rankings, now in their 10th year, attempt to measure not only the length of life — but the quality of it.

They are based on four main health factors:

  • Social and economic factors (40%): education, employment, income, family and social support, community safety;
  • Heath behaviors (30%): tobacco use, diet and exercise, alcohol/drug use and sexual activity;
  • Clinical care (20%): access to care, quality of care;
  • Physical environment (10%): air and water quality, housing and transit.

The report did not list a score with the rankings.

Morris County was followed by Hunterdon, Somerset, Bergen and Middlesex (see the complete list at the bottom).

The lowest-ranked counties: Essex (No. 17), followed by Atlantic, Camden, Salem and Cumberland.

Officials with the organization, which receives funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, did not release a key findings report, saying they did not want to divert focus from the continuing COVID-19 response and recovery.

But, while the 2021 rankings do not measure COVID-19 cases or deaths, officials still felt the data is helpful in providing the context for the systemic inequities that have influenced the health of communities long before COVID-19.

Here are FAQs involving the survey.

A look at the rankings for 2021 (with 2020 ranking in parenthesis):

  1. Morris (2)
  2. Hunterdon (1)
  3. Somerset (4)
  4. Bergen (3)
  5. Middlesex (6)
  6. Monmouth (7)
  7. Sussex (5)
  8. Union (8)
  9. Hudson (11)
  10. Ocean (9)
  11. Warren (12)
  12. Mercer (10)
  13. Burlington (13)
  14. Passaic (14)
  15. Gloucester (15)
  16. Cape May (17)
  17. Essex (16)
  18. Atlantic (19)
  19. Camden (18)
  20. Salem (20)
  21. Cumberland (21)