While one Texas city is running away with an important accolade, Houston is lagging way behind.
A study released February 10 by personal finance website WalletHub puts Austin in 11th place among the country’s healthiest cities and first place in Texas. Houston creeps over the finish line in at 82nd place.
To determine which regions prioritize residents’ well-being, WalletHub compared 174 of the most populated U.S. cities across 43 key indicators of good health. The data ranges from cost of medical visits to fruit and vegetable consumption to fitness clubs per capita.
Houston scored poorly in overall health (No. 116), but didn't do too badly in the category of food (No. 36). In "fitness," it clocked in at a so-so No. 51, but for green spaces, it tumbled to No. 120.
Elsewhere in Texas, Dallas came in at 92nd place. And with one exception — Plano, which earned a spot at No. 40 — the cities in DFW aren't winning any medals for fitness. They rank as follows:
- Fort Worth, No. 117.
- Arlington, No. 135.
- Irving, No. 136.
- Grand Prairie, No. 137.
- Garland, No. 141.
Perhaps not surprisingly, outdoors-loving Austin held the same positions (No. 11 and No. 1 in Texas) in WalletHub’s 2019 study of the healthiest cities in the U.S. The city scores highest in the green space (No. 13), fitness (No. 15), and food (No. 16) categories of the study. More specifically, Austin appears at No. 3 for most healthy restaurants per capita and No. 5 for most running trails per capita.
However, the Capital City lands at No. 40 in the health care category. Despite this, the the City of Austin says, “Austin is a relatively healthy city."
Ranking above Austin in the WalletHub study are: San Francisco (No. 1); Seattle (No. 2); San Diego (No. 3); Portland, Oregon (No. 4); Washington, D.C. (No. 5); New York City (No. 6); Denver (No. 7); Irvine, California (No. 8); Scottsdale, Arizona (No. 9); and Chicago (No. 10).
The Rio Grande Valley city of Brownsville ranked last, at No. 174.
Interestingly, Laredo has the lowest cost per doctor’s visit, $58.33, which is 3.3 times less expensive than in Boston, the city with the highest at $191.62, Wallethub says. Whereas, Amarillo has the lowest average monthly cost for a fitness-club membership, $10.17, which is 8.1 times less expensive than in San Francisco, the city with the highest at $82.83.