What a difference a few miles — and a few thousand dollars a year in income — can make.
Leelanau County was rated the state’s healthiest county, with Grand Traverse and Benzie counties coming in seventh and ninth respectively, in a study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Health Institute. Kalkaska County came in 76th - of 81 counties in Michigan, sixth from the bottom; Antrim County came in at 45.
A county’s “health outcome” was weighted by mortality — the years of life lost due to premature death — and morbidity, which is measured by poor physical and mental health and poor birth outcomes. Kalkaska’s low ranking is due, in part, to a high teen birth rate of 48 per 1,000 females, triple the rate of Leelanau County, which has a large retiree population.
The other big difference was income. Leelanau’s average was $51,267, while Kalkaska came in at just over $38,000. Experts say a host of factors are also in play, including low stress, a good job and enough time and money to exercise and fix a healthy meal.
Not surprisingly, Wayne County, home to the city of Detroit, was dead last.