Here’s How Healthy Boston Is, Compared to 27 Other Cities

A new data platform offers a window into public health nationwide.


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You already know Boston is a healthy city. But have you ever wondered how it stacks up against, say, New York or Las Vegas?

A new data platform from the Big Cities Health Coalition lets you see for yourself. The Big Cities Health Inventory Data Platform 2.0 has sorted 17,000 data points into an interactive platform that allows viewers to explore 50 public health indicators in 28 of the country’s largest cities.

So, does Boston hold its own? It depends where you look.

On the bright side, Boston has*:

  • The third-lowest adult obesity rate, at 21.7 percent of residents
  • One of the nation’s lowest heart disease mortality rates, at 133.6 deaths per 100,000 people
  • A very low HIV-related mortality rate, at 2.9 deaths per 100,000 residents
  • One of the country’s highest life expectancies, at 80.2 years
  • The third-lowest percentage (4.1 percent) of mothers under the age of 20

On the not-so-bright side, Boston has*:

  • The highest opioid overdose rate of any city
  • A shockingly low percentage (24.2 percent) of adult residents meeting physical activity guidelines, despite our vibrant fitness community
  • The third-highest percentage (25.4 percent) of adults who binge drink
  • A high rate of salmonella infections

The database touches on numerous other public health indicators, from environmental health to poverty rates. If your curiosity has been piqued, you can play with the platform here.

*All comparisons are based on data from 2013.