(CBS4) – Colorado residents who live in two different parts of the Denver metro area and several different mountain communities have something to feel good about — they live in what U.S. News & World Report says are some of the healthiest places in the country. Its 2020 list — U.S. News Healthiest Communities — has all of the following Colorado counties in its Top 10: Douglas, Summit, San Miguel, Routt, Pitkin and Broomfield.

U.S. News used environmental, economic and educational measurements to come up with its rankings. Areas with “educated population, well-paying jobs and active lifestyles” were all high scorers. The Top 10 is as follows (with Colorado counties in bold):

1. Los Alamos County
2. Douglas County
3. Falls Church, Virginia
4. Broomfield (City & County)
5. Routt County
6. Loudoun County, Virginia
7. Pitkin County
8. Carver County, Minnesota
9. Summit County
10. San Miguel County

Several of these communities also made the top 10 in last year’s list. Douglas County stayed in the same spot (No. 2) while Broomfield moved down a spot compared to 2019. Routt County was also on last year’s list and it moved up 4 places compared to last year.

Rio Blanco County was the lowest scoring of the counties in Colorado that were analyzed. Their ranking was near the bottom of the list.

“The Healthiest Communities rankings are a snapshot of how healthy a community is at a period in time,” said Deidre McPhillips, senior data editor at U.S. News & World Report. “This year, it was incredibly important to factor coronavirus into that analysis.”

Though data used to determine the rankings were obtained before the pandemic, new tools used in this year’s report provided COVID-19 data on communities and highlighted the disproportionate impact of the virus on Black and Hispanic communities.

The Healthiest Communities rankings and analysis are based on evaluations of nearly 3,000 communities nationwide for 84 health and health-related measurements in 10 categories, including community vitality, equity, economy, education, environment, food and nutrition, population health, housing, infrastructure and public safety. Some of the specific social determinants of health that were taken into account in the study were as follows:

– Drinking water quality
– Affordable housing availability
– Park access
– Population with an advanced degree
– Racial segregation
– Preventable hospital admissions

By assessing which communities provide their citizens opportunities to live healthy, productive lives, the project serves to educate residents and government officials about optimal policies and practices for positive health outcomes.

The rankings are based on measurements obtained from sources including the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, an independent global health research center at the University of Washington in Seattle.

For the complete list and to see how your community stacks up, check out the full report.

Earlier this year, Denver was ranked the 7th healthiest city in the United States in a separate study that took into account access to nutritious food and recreational facilities.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. CNN contributed to this report.)

Jesse Sarles

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