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Report Ranks Maricopa County No. 1 In Health, Santa Cruz No. 1 In Longevity

Maricopa is the healthiest county in Arizona, according to a report from County Rankings and Roadmaps.

Justin Rivas, a network strategist for the organization, says there are multiple factors that contribute to the ranking.

“Social economic factors can contribute 40 percent of the total health factor rank, meaning we put a lot of weight on that and this is based on the research because we know that there's a lot of influence that these have over time on the health of the community.”

Health behaviors contribute to 30 percent of the ranking, followed by clinical care at 20 percent and physical environment at 10 percent.

Although Maricopa Couty is ranked first in health overall, Santa Cruz County has the longest-living residents in Arizona, according to a new report. 

County Rankings and Roadmaps ranks counties in each state by an overall health score using data from sources like the U.S. Census Bureau and state health services departments. While Santa Cruz County is ranked first in longevity, it ranks 10th of Arizona’s 15 counties in terms of quality of life. Justin Rivas, a network strategist for the organization, says this discrepancy called “the Hispanic paradox.” 

“Basically all the Latinos that maybe are in the county as immigrants may live there but not die there. And therefore the data of when they die is not captured. That'll artificially inflate the length-of-life measure.”

Rivas says this is a common phenomenon in counties and states near the southern border.

Chloe Jones is a senior at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication focusing on multimedia digital storytelling, expecting to graduate in May 2019. Jones also has a minor in Spanish and a minor in philosophy. She is passionate about journalism because she knows how important it is to give a voice to those who need to be heard. Jones joined the KJZZ team as an intern in September 2018.Jones was raised right here in Tempe, Arizona. In her free time, she enjoys teaching and practicing yoga, running outside (when it’s not too hot) and enjoying the outdoors. If she is not doing any of those things, she is probably taking a nap after binge-watching Netflix.