Which U.S. County Is Most Likely To Kill You?

by Emma Cueto

There are a lot of different things that go into picking a place to live — the weather, the type of people, whether or not the governor is blocking your access to affordable healthcare — but maybe the most important consideration is whether or not your home will kill you. Which means you might want to check out a new map of the deadliest counties in the US, especially if you're planning a move. Because, you know, I want you to live.

The map was created by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, which tracks the number of people, by county, who die each year before the age of 75, which is what health experts consider to be premature death. So which places should you avoid?

Well, the state with the most counties in the top 10 worst is South Dakota, but most South Dakota counties seem to be fairly average — and one even makes it into the list of top 25 best counties. The wide gap between various counties seems to be the result of the state's numerous Native American reservations, and the health problems that are unfortunately widespread on reservations. Indeed, the county with the most premature deaths per capita is Oglala Lakota County (formerly Shannon County), which includes a large part of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

However, when it comes to picking a region prone to premature deaths, Appalachia might be the worst off, particularly parts of western West Virginia and eastern Kentucky, which together also make up several counties on the list of worst 25 counties for premature deaths.

But which counties should you worry about? And which counties should you be moving to right away? Well, here are the five best and five worst.


5. Dewey, South Dakota

Not to be confused with the town of Dewey, South Dakota in the southwest, the county of Dewey is is central South Dakota and lies mostly within the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation. The under 75 mortality rate is 811.4 per 100,000 residents.

4. Sioux, North Dakota

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Located in southern North Dakota, this county lies entirely within the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, which also extends into South Dakota. The under 75 mortality rate is 834.5 per 100,000 residents.

3. McDowell, West Virginia

McDowell county is the southernmost county is West Virginia. The under 75 mortality rate is 861.2 per 100,000 residents.

2. Todd, South Dakota

Todd, South Dakota lies along the state's southern border and is located entirely within the Rosebud Indian Reservation. The under 75 mortality rate is 878.2 per 100,000 residents.

1. Oglala Lakota, South Dakota

Ogalala Lakota, South Dakota (formerly known as Shannon, South Dakota) lies entirely within the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The under 75 mortality rate is 983.4 per 100,000 residents.


5. Eagle, Colorado

Located in northern Colorado, Eagle County's under 75 mortality rate is 148.7 per 100,000 residents.

4. Mono, California

Located along the California/Nevada border, Mono County doesn't have the biggest population, but their under 75 mortality rate is 148.5 per 100,000 residents.

3. Presidio, Texas

Presidio County is along the Mexican border in west Texas. The under 75 mortality rate is 126.3 per 100,000 residents.

2. Summit, Colorado

Home to the popular ski resort Breckinridge, Summit's under 75 mortality rate is 121 per 100,000 residents.

1. Pitkin, Colorado

It might only have 17,000 people in the whole county, but it's the place where you are least likely to die before the age of 75. The under 75 mortality rate is 118.5 per 100,000 residents.

For more information and interactive county maps, you can go to

Images: Wikipedia Commons (10)