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Healthiest cities in America: 2021 Mindbody Wellness Index

Top 10 Healthiest Cities in America in 2021

By Margo Badzioch

Think your city is one of the healthiest? As part of the Mindbody Wellness Index, we rank the most populous 50 US cities from most healthy to least healthy. The rankings are based on the seven dimensions of wellness: physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, environmental, social, and occupational. We factored in how much city residents exercise, how stressed they are, the amount of rest they get, how many of them smoke, how much alcohol they drink, and their body mass index. We also looked at how close they are with friends and family, how connected they feel to their communities, and if they feel spiritually fulfilled.

New York City and four cities in California, areas with some of the strictest COVID-19 restrictions in the country, made it into the top 10, which speaks to the resilience of residents and the renewed focus on health and wellness in the face of a pandemic.

See the healthiest cities in the US.

Miami, Florida

1. Miami, FL

For the second year in a row, Miami earns the title of the healthiest city in America. Since the pandemic started, over three quarters of residents say they’re more focused on their health and wellness—more than any other US city. Miami is continuing to make fitness a priority; 87% of residents are working out at least once a week—taking the top slot here, too. Miami residents have also been quickest to adopt virtual workouts; 75% of residents are joining live stream or pre-recorded workouts on a weekly basis. Miami isn’t afraid to invest in its wellness: the city is the top spender at salons and spas, fitness studios and gyms, and wellness businesses. Social wellness is key, too. Miami beats the other 49 cities across many categories. The Florida city reports the closest relationships with friends and family, is the most well-rested, and is the happiest.

Atlanta, Georgia

2. Atlanta, GA

Just as we saw last year, Atlanta trails closely behind Miami when it comes to overall wellness. What makes the city such a strong contender? Atlanta takes the title of most spiritually fulfilled. And, like Miami, Atlanta takes social wellness seriously—no other city has residents who say they feel as connected to their neighbors and community. The city is also just behind Miami in close relationships with friends and family. Atlanta is the second-most well rested city, solidifying its status as the second-healthiest city in the US.

San Francisco, California

3. San Francisco, CA

The City by the Bay secures its spot as the third healthiest city in the US. A dedication to physical fitness helps San Francisco rank so high. Eighty-two percent of residents are exercising at least once a week (just behind top city Miami). How are San Franciscans moving? Outdoor walking and weight/strength training top the list. There are also few smokers in the city (second only to Los Angeles). The dedication to healthy lifestyles is paying off for residents, even amid the pandemic. SF is tied with Atlanta for the highest percentage of residents with normal body mass index (as defined by the CDC).

New York, New York

4. New York, NY

Despite having the strictest and longest lockdowns in 2020, New Yorkers remain dedicated to wellness—and physical fitness specifically. Seventy-five percent of New Yorkers are exercising at least once a week. Like Miami, New York has been quick to adopt virtual fitness; 65% are joining a live stream or pre-recorded workout on a weekly basis. New Yorkers are spending more at salons than any other city (apart from Miami). The Big Apple ranks third in happiness, spiritual fulfilment, strong ties to neighborhood and community, and fifth in close relationships with family and friends. In fact, New Yorkers climbed 11 percentage points in happiness from last year—more than any other city. When asked if the pandemic has negatively impacted their mental well-being, the city proved to be resilient. The city ranked 11th in happiness—despite the hard hits from the virus. Seventy-one percent say they’re more focused on their health and wellness than they were pre-pandemic, proving that New Yorkers know how to face a challenge with grit.

Washington, DC

5. Washington, DC

The nation’s capital earns the title of 5th healthiest city. Washington is one of the most well-rested cities, ranking third with 65% of residents who say they get 7-8 hours of shuteye a night. DC residents are close with friends and family and connected to their neighborhoods and communities, as well, ranking fourth in both. When it comes to physical wellness, DC residents are dedicated, with 79% working out at least once a week.

San Jose, California

6. San Jose, CA

Health across various dimensions of wellness puts San Jose in the top 10. Seventy-nine percent of residents work out at least once a week, with outdoor running, walking, and hiking as their most popular forms of movement. Over half of San Jose residents participate in virtual workouts at least once a week, too. Outside of fitness, San Jose prioritizes rest and relationships. Fifty-eight percent of San Jose residents get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night, and 73% say they have close relationships with family and/or friends.

Los Angeles, California

7. Los Angeles, CA

Coming in at 7th place is Los Angeles. Angelenos get their work out on—and often. Almost eighty percent say they work out once a week or more. Many residents are taking advantage of virtual; 57% of Angelenos are doing virtual workouts each week, likely due to the city’s strict COVID-19 lockdowns. When it comes to their go-to routines, Los Angeles residents head outside. Over 43% opt for outdoor walks and 26% for outdoor runs (and with weather that nice year-round, who can blame them?). LA residents aren’t afraid to spend either. They’re among the top spenders for fitness, wellness, and salon services, which is only likely to increase. After all, 68% of LA residents say they’re more focused on their health and wellness since the pandemic. What you won’t find them doing? Buying cigarettes. Los Angeles smoked the competition and earned the title of lowest percentage of cigarette smokers in the country.

San Diego, California

8. San Diego, CA

The 8th healthiest city in America is San Diego. Not only are San Diego residents active (more than three-quarters work out once a week or more), they’re well-rested, too (more than half report sleeping at least 7-8 hours each night). It’s no surprise these healthy habits positively impact their waistlines—San Diego ranks among the best for body mass index, with 47% of San Diegans maintaining a normal BMI.

Houston, Texas

9. Houston, TX

From 2019 to 2020, Houston made a leap from 38th to 9th healthiest city in America. How’d it happen? Seventy-seven percent report working out once a week or more, with 55% doing so virtually. And it's not just about working out for Houston—residents prioritize their relationships and spirituality, too. Over 70% of Houstonians say they have close relationships with family members and/or friends (as compared to 67% nationally) and over half say they feel spiritually fulfilled.

Seattle, Washington

10. Seattle, WA

Rounding out the list of healthiest cities in America is Seattle. Seattle is home to the highest percentage of yogis in the country, with 23% of residents practicing regularly. Other favorites include outdoor walking, strength training, and cardio on machines like the treadmill, elliptical, or rower. All those sweat sessions lead to a good night’s rest. Over fifty-eight percent of Seattleites fit in at least 7-8 hours of sleep nightly, as compared to the national average of 52%.

Full Mindbody Wellness Index rankings:

  1. Miami, FL
  2. Atlanta, GA
  3. San Francisco, CA
  4. New York, NY
  5. Washington, DC
  6. San Jose, CA
  7. Los Angeles, CA
  8. San Diego, CA
  9. Houston, TX
  10. Seattle, WA
  11. Oakland, CA
  12. Chicago, IL
  13. Tampa, FL
  14. Austin, TX
  15. Charlotte, NC
  16. Dallas, TX
  17. Long Beach, CA
  18. Denver, CO
  19. Boston, MA
  20. Nashville, TN
  21. Columbus, OH
  22. Fort Worth, TX
  23. Minneapolis, MN
  24. Memphis, TN
  25. Tucson, AZ
  26. Virginia Beach, VA
  27. Philadelphia, PA
  28. Raleigh, NC
  29. Phoenix, AZ
  30. Sacramento, CA
  31. Portland, OR
  32. Jacksonville, FL
  33. Louisville, KY
  34. San Antonio, TX
  35. Las Vegas, NV
  36. Arlington, TX
  37. Baltimore, MD
  38. Kansas City, MO
  39. New Orleans, LA
  40. Colorado Springs, CO
  41. Albuquerque, NM
  42. El Paso, TX
  43. Detroit, MI
  44. Fresno, CA
  45. Milwaukee, WI
  46. Indianapolis, IN
  47. Omaha, NE
  48. Mesa, AZ
  49. Tulsa, OK
  50. Oklahoma City, OK

What wellness trends can you look forward to in 2021?

Read the blog

About the author:

Margo Badzioch

Margo Badzioch

Market Research Lead

Margo is as passionate about data as she is about wellness. She has an extensive background in quantitative consumer and business research across multiple industries and loves to translate data into stories. She has a healthy obsession with wellness and has multiple certifications, including health coaching and culinary nutrition. Naturally, her path led her to Mindbody where she is conducting wellness research.

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