Taking the temperature

2 Austin-area counties weigh in among the healthiest in the country, says U.S. News

2 Austin-area counties weigh in among the healthiest in the country

Georgetown hike-and-bike trail
The typical life expectancy in Williamson County is 82.1 years, compared with 77.5 years nationwide. Photo courtesy of Georgetown CVB

For babies and baby boomers alike, Williamson County and Travis County stand out among the healthiest counties in the U.S. According to a new study by U.S. News & World Report, Williamson and Travis County came in at No. 121 and No. 295, respectively, on its recent list the 500 healthiest counties in the country.

U.S. News assessed 2,735 of the 3,143 counties across the U.S. but ranked only 500 of them. The healthiest county in Texas was Dallas neighbor Collin County, which landed at No. 50 nationally.

For the study, U.S. News examined 89 metrics across 10 categories tied to health: 

  1. Community health
  2. Health, income, education, and social equity
  3. Education
  4. Economy
  5. Housing
  6. Food and nutrition
  7. Environment
  8. Public safety
  9. Community vitality
  10.  Infrastructure

Williamson County earned its highest score in the economy category (93); its lowest score was in the housing category (52). Data published by U.S. News highlights Williamson County’s health status. For instance:

  • The typical life expectancy is 82.1 years, compared with 77.5 years nationwide and 79.2 years statewide.
  • The smoking rate is 11.8 percent, compared with 20 percent nationwide and 15.5 percent statewide.
  • The diabetes prevalence was 9.3 percent, compared with 10.4 percent nationwide; obesity prevalence 31.8 percent, compared with 36.2 percent nationwide.

Travis County earned its highest score in the infrastructure category (92) and its lowest score in the equity category (41). Other highlights for Travis County include:

  • The typical life expectancy is 81.9 years, compared with 77.5 years nationwide and 79.2 years statewide.
  • The smoking rate is 12.0 percent, compared with 20 percent nationwide and 15.5 percent statewide.
  • The obesity prevalence was 25.2 percent, compared with 36.2 percent nationwide; diabetes prevalence 10.0 percent, compared with 10.4 percent nationwide.

Home to more than 75,000 people, Williamson County was recently named the second fastest growing city in the country by the U.S. Census Bureau — just behind its neighbor, Leander (No. 1). 

Other Texas counties that fared well in the U.S. News study are:

  • No. 70 Rockwall County (Dallas). Its highest score was in the economy category (87), and its lowest score was in the housing category (54).
  • No. 91 Kendall County (San Antonio). Its highest score was in the economy category (79); its lowest score was in the housing category (53).
  • No. 180 Denton County. Its highest score was in the economy category (88), and its lowest score was in the housing category (43).
  • No. 291 Fort Bend County (Houston). No. 291. Its highest score was in the economy category (90); its lowest score was in the environment category (25).
  • No. 453 Comal County (San Antonio). Its highest score was in the economy category (75); its lowest score was in the environment category (43).