Burlington County was once again judged to be among the healthiest places to live in America, according to the latest rankings from U.S. News and World Report.
Now in its 5th year, the publication’s 2022 study examined nearly 3,000 communities – primarily counties or county equivalents – throughout the United States and scored them based on 89 metrics across 10 health and health-related categories to create its list of the Top 500 Healthiest Communities.
Burlington County was ranked No. 250, making it one of 10 counties in New Jersey to land on the Top 500 list and the top-ranked county in South Jersey. Burlington County was also listed on the Top 500 list last year.
The other New Jersey counties in the Top 500 were Morris (No. 16), Hunterdon (No. 27), Somerset (No. 67), Bergen (No. 75), Sussex (No. 228), Monmouth (No. 256), Warren (No. 330), Middlesex (No. 337) and Gloucester (No. 408).
“Community health encompasses a lot of different metrics and variables and it’s gratifying to see our county ranks ahead of the curve in most areas,” said Burlington County Commissioner Director Dan O’Connell. “Keeping our residents safe and healthy is one of our Board’s top priorities and these rankings reflect that commitment. We commend the outstanding work and dedication of our Health Department leaders, staff and volunteers, as well as the efforts of all our county partners and providers. We owe them all tremendous debt of gratitude for what they’ve done, and we continue to rely on them.”
Burlington County Health Department Director Dr. Herb Conaway said the county’s ranking reflects the strong institutional leadership in the private sector and the support of good government.
“Healthy communities are the result of a lot of different factors, but in Burlington County we benefit from having strong health care systems and infrastructure in place, along with good government support,” said Dr. Conaway. “We’ve also worked hard to make sure health care programs and resources are available and accessible to all our residents and we’re seeing the benefits.”
Burlington County’s ranking was based on its overall community health score of 70 out of 100. The median score in New Jersey was 59 and nationwide was 47.
The county scored highest in the economy and education categories, and it also scored well in population health, public safety, food and nutrition, community vitality and equity. More than 75% of Burlington County’s population had also received a primary series of COVID-19 vaccine, the publication noted.
“The health and wellbeing of all our residents is of great importance to us and our programs and initiatives reflect that,” said Commissioner Felicia Hopson, the Board’s liaison to both the Health Department and Department of Human Services. “From COVID-19 vaccines and testing to distributing free produce and groceries to food insecure families, enhancing our parks and trails and designating our county as stigma-free, our County has provided our residents and communities with tools and resources needed for strong physical and mental health.”
New Jersey Senator Troy Singleton said the rankings provide more objective proof that Burlington County is a top-choice destination to live or grow a business.
“The U.S. News and World Report has once again named Burlington County as one of the top 500 healthiest communities in America,” said Senator Singleton. “For those of us who live here, this comes as no surprise. From our top-notch public health initiatives, to our strong education system, to our thriving economy and infrastructure, Burlington County is an ideal place to live, work or raise a family and it is wonderful to see this national recognition.”
Photo: Burlington County Commissioner Deputy Director Dan O’Connell and Burlington County Health Department Director Herb Conaway were present for the opening of the Burlington County Vaccine Mega-Site when the site opened last December in the Centerton Square Shopping Center in Mount Laurel. Burlington County and the Burlington County Health Department are partners in the operations of the Mega-Site with Virtua Health and the State of New Jersey.