We Ranked the 100 Strongest Cities in America

WHAT MAKES a city strong? Our analysis of 100 major cities argues it’s more than muscle. True strength is an absence of mental distress and depression, a sense of well-being, general good health, getting enough sleep and physical activity, access to exercise (gyms and parks), social connection, and a high ratio of registered voters. So strength of body, mind, heart, and community—that’s what separates the strongest U.S. cities from the rest.

To rank these cities, we used a specific methodology: mental health (including well-being) and physical health (sleep habits and more) each made up 25 percent of our weighted rankings. The ratio of registered voters to eligible voters made up 20 percent. Resident connection to city organizations made up 15 percent. Cardiovascular health made up 10 percent. And the number of fitness facilities and access to exercise opportunities made up the remaining 5 percent.

And as sources, we turned to 500 Cities Project, American Fitness Index, the CDC, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, County Health Rankings, U. S. Census Bureau, World Well-Being Project, and state, city, and county records.

Here’s how these cities stack up:

America’s Strongest Cities

1. Madison, WI

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2. Anchorage, AK
3. Washington, D.C.
4. Burlington, VT
5. Minneapolis, MN
6. Denver, CO
7. Sioux Falls, SD
8. Lincoln, NE
9. Raleigh, NC
10. Bridgeport, CT
11. Seattle, WA
12. Aurora, CO
13. San Francisco, CA
14. St. Paul, MN
15. Austin, TX
16. Virginia Beach, VA
17. Colorado Springs, CO
18. Anaheim, CA
19. Atlanta, GA



20. Charlotte, NC

21. Durham, NC
22. Des Moines, IA
23. Portland, OR
24. Fargo, ND
25. Omaha, NE
26. Charleston, SC
27. Oakland, CA
28. Billings, MT
29. Portland, ME
30. Chesapeake, VA
31. San Jose, CA
32. Louisville, KY
33. Sacramento, CA
34. San Diego, CA
35. Pittsburgh, PA
36. Boise City, ID
37. Cheyenne city, WY
38. Greensboro, NC
39. Honolulu, HI

40. Los Angeles, CA

41. Plano, TX
42. Manchester, NH
43. Chicago, IL
44. Salt Lake City, UT
45. Wilmington, DE
46. Nashville, TN
47. Reno, NV
48. Winston-Salem, NC
49. Lexington, KY
50. New York, NY
51. Buffalo, NY
52. St. Louis, MO
53. Richmond, VA
54. Little Rock, AR
55. Phoenix, AZ
56. Newark, NJ
57. Boston, MA
58. Jersey City, NJ
59. Jacksonville, FL


60. St. Petersberg, FL

61. Birmingham, AL
62. Cleveland, OH
63. Cincinnati, OH
64. Albuquerque, NM
65. Norfolk, VA
66. New Orleans, LA
67. Houston, TX
68. Baltimore, MD
69. San Antonio, TX
70. Orlando, FL
71. Tucson, AZ
72. Indianapolis, IN
73. Wichita, KS
74. Las Vegas, NV
75. Fort Wayne, IN
76. Kansas City, MO
77. Riverside, CA
78. Miami, FL
79. Lubbock, TX

80. Dallas, TX

81. Columbus, OH
82. Jackson, MS
83. Toledo, OH
84. Milwaukee, WI
85. Fort Worth, TX
86. Tulsa, OK
87. Providence, RI
88. Memphis, TN
89. Oklahoma City, OK
90. Tampa, FL
91. Baton Rouge, LA
92. Stockton, CA
93. Charleston, WV
94. Corpus Christi, TX
95. El Paso, TX
96. Fresno, CA
97. Laredo, TX
98. Philadelphia, PA
99. Bakersfield, CA
100. Detroit, MI

A version of this article appeared in the June 2021 issue of Men’s Health.

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