Marathon, Taylor, Portage Counties Among State's Healthiest

By: WSAW Staff
By: WSAW Staff

A new report says Ozaukee County is the healthiest of Wisconsin's 72 counties. Dane County is 15th, and Milwaukee County is second-worst at No. 71, above only Menominee County.

The rankings were released Wednesday by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The groups ranked the counties based on 25 factors that influence health. Researchers used five measures to assess the level of overall health for each county: premature death, the percent of people who report being in fair or poor health, the number of days people report being in poor physical and poor mental health, and the rate of low birthweight infants.

Ozaukee County came out on top, followed by Kewaunee, St. Croix, Pierce and Door counties.

The bottom five were Menominee, Milwaukee, Marquette, Adams and Forest counties.

Milwaukee County ranked low in part because 29 percent of residents were considered obese and 30 percent of kids were growing up in single-parent households.

Marathon County ranks in the top quartile for health outcomes (18) and in the top half for health factors (27). Marathon County ranks in the top half of Wisconsin counties for health behaviors (35), clinical care (19), social and economic factors (30), and physical environment (27).

“The report highlights that the investments our community partners are making to create a healthy county are having an impact. While I am pleased to see our county’s rankings improve, we still have much work to do to ensure everyone in Marathon County can enjoy a life of health and wellbeing,” said Joan Theurer, Marathon County health officer.

Taylor County ranks in the top quartile for health outcomes (6) and in the top half for health factors (35). Taylor County ranks in the top half of Wisconsin counties for health behaviors (21) and physical environment (29). Taylor County ranks in the bottom half of Wisconsin counties for clinical care (48) and social and economic factors (48).

“It is the collaborative work within the community that places Taylor County in our current ranking. Our work is not done, however,” said Patty Krug, Taylor County health officer. “Our drop in ranking to the bottom half for some areas of health factors is an influence that will affect the health of our community in the future. Our community coalitions, partners, and organizations will need to continue to address these areas if we want to be a healthy community.” More information about Taylor County’s work can be found at

The Associated Press contributed tot his report

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