How do Minnesota's cities compare when it comes to well-being?

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A new report offers another glimpse into how happy Minnesotans are.

As you may recall, we already know from a recent Gallup Healthways Index that Minnesota tops the list of the nation’s most satisfied states.

That index ranked Minnesota fourth in overall well-being, and in the top ten on a host of different measures, including emotional health, work environment and physical health. (Minnesota did less well in terms of healthy behaviors, ranking 15th).

The latest city index shows how the Twin Cities compares with Duluth on the same measures.

And it turns out that Twin Cities residents feel a much greater sense of well-being than people in Duluth, particularly when it comes to physical health, work environment, life evaluation and healthy behaviors.

Why such a big disparity?

A recent comparison of health in Minnesota counties may offer some clues.

The County Health Rankings looked at 29 factors such as childhood poverty, smoking, college attendance, physical inactivity, and access to physicians and dentists.

According to the analysis, the five healthiest counties in Minnesota, starting with most healthy, are Carver, followed by McLeod, Waseca, Steele and Nobles.

The five counties with the poorest health, starting with least healthy, are Mahnomen, Cass, Mille Lacs, Traverse and Wadena.

“Minnesota has some of the worst racial and geographic health disparities in the country,” says Liz Doyle from the non-profit TakeAction Minnesota.

“As evidenced by these 2014 rankings, our state’s least healthy counties include large numbers of lower-income and Native American populations living in remote areas of our state. These counties also disproportionately face worse health factors such as lower access to primary care physicians and mental health providers, elevated tobacco and alcohol use, higher rates of poverty and geographic isolation. We need to improve health care access and increase living wage job creation in these areas to bring up the health rankings.”

 More on the county rankings

How does your town stack up?

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