Health is the physical and mental well-being of an individual. This section focuses on the status of health of New Jersey residents as well as the means of delivering healthcare in the state.

National Rankings provide data on how New Jersey compares to other states on measures of Health.

State and Local Reports provide featured analysis of current Health data within New Jersey and its impact on life in the State.

International Rankings provide data that puts New Jersey in a global context.

National Rankings compared to other states, New Jersey ranks...


• 9th in Size of Health Care and Social Assistance Sectors

June 11, 2014.  The compensation of employees in health care and social assistance in New Jersey was $31.2 billion in 2012 according the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. This represents an increase of 7% since 2010.  California had the largest compensation totaling $104.9 billion and Wyoming had the smallest totaling $1.2 billion.

4th Lowest Rate for Overweight or Obese Children

January 29, 2014.  According the the Children's Defense Fund 2014 Children in the States report, 24.7% of New Jersey's children between the ages of 10 and 17 years were overweight or obese.  This places the state in the 4th best position.  Utah had the the best ranking, with just 22.1% of children in this age group being overweight or obese.  Louisiana had the worst ranking, with 39.8% of children being overweight or obese. 

• Last in the Adoption of Electronic Health Records 

January, 2014.  In 2013, 21% of New Jersey physicians had at least a basic system for maintaining patient health records electronically, according the to National Center for Health Statistics.  This placed the state last. A basic system may not actually meet federal standards for a fully functioning system.  North Dakota led the states with 83% of physicians having adopted basic EHR.  

29thin People Without Health Insurance 

April 4, 2014.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey, New Jersey averaged just over 1 million uninsured between 2003 and 2008.  That is 12.6% of the state's population.  Texas had the highest rate of uninsured, with 23% of its citizens lacking any health insurance.

13th in Number of Nationally Ranked Hospitals

July 2, 2014.  With 4 hospitals with nationally ranked specialties, New Jersey is tied for 13th with North Carolina, Virginia, Arizona, and Georgia according to the U.S. News and World Report 2013-14 Hospital Rankings. New Jersey's four nationally ranked hospitals are: Hackensack University Medical Center, JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute, Morristown Medical Center, and the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation. In addition, there are 19 New Jersey hospitals with high-performing specialties.

• 5th Largest Number of Fitness Centers

June 20, 2014.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, New Jersey had 1,331 private fitness and recreation sports centers in 2013, ranking 5th highest in the nation.  The number of centers was up nearly 3% from 2011.  Fitness and recreation centers employed an estimated 21,915 workers in March, 2013. 

8th Lowest Infant Mortality Rate

March, 2013.  New Jersey had the 8th lowest infant mortality rate according the the Children's Defense Fund 2013 Children's Report. Alaska had the lowest and Misssissippi had the highest.

33rd Lowest in Low Birthrate

March, 2013. New Jersey had the 33rd lowest percent of babies born at low birthrate according the the Children's Defense Fund 2013 Children's Report. Alaska lowest percent of babies born at low birthrate and Mississippi had the highest.

• Tied for 8th in Life Expectancy at Birth 

June 19, 2013. At birth, the expected lifespan of a New Jersey resident is 80.3 years, tied for 8th place with New Hampshire.  Hawaii takes top ranking with a life expectancy at birth of 81.3 years.  Mississippi is last with just 75 years.  Data are from the Social Science Research Council's Measuring America, 2013-2014.

• 10th in America’s Health Rankings

December 11, 2013. New Jersey’s 2013 overall rank is much improved from 17th in 2011 on America’s Health Rankings. The ranking by the United Health Foundation measures a combination of individual choices, the environment, decisions of public and elected officials, and quality of medical care.

• 13th in Health for Children

June 24, 2013.  New Jersey ranked 13th in Health in the national 2013 Kids Count Data Book, from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.  This was down significantly from its ranking of 5th in 2012.

• 2nd Lowest Suicide Rate

May 8, 2013.  In 2010, New Jersey tied for 2nd with New York with 7.7 suicides per 100,000 members of the population after adjusting for age.  The District of Columbia had the lowest rate, with 7.6 suicides per 100,000.  Arizona had the highest rate, with 22.8 suicides per 100,000 members of the population.  Data are from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

13th Lowest Rate for Adult Smoking

November 29, 2013.  According to the 2013 America’s Health Rankings by the United Health Foundation, 17.3% of New Jersey Adults currently smoke.  This is an increase from a low of 14.4% in 2011.  

• 10th Largest Number of Doctors

November, 2012.  New Jersey ranks 10th in primary care physicians with 12,037, 10th in specialist physicians with 13,080, and 10th in total physicians with 25,117 in 2012 according to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

• 43rd in the Number of Serious Disciplinary Actions for Doctors

May 17, 2012.  According to the Public Citizen Health Research Group, New Jersey’s medical board took serious disciplinary actions (revocations, surrenders, suspensions and probation/restrictions) at a rate of 2.26 actions per 1,000 physicians between 2009 and 2011.  Wyoming led the states with a rate of 6.79 disciplinary actions per 1,000 doctors.  South Carolina had the least with 1.33 actions per 1,000 doctors.

•  7th in Cost of Assisted Living

November, 2012.  With an average annual cost of $4,794, New Jersey had the 7th highest assisted living costs in the nation according to the 2012 MetLife Market Survey of Nursing Home, Assisted Living, Adult Day Services, and Home Care Costs. Washington D.C. ranked the highest with $5,933, and Arkansas had the lowest cost with $2,355.

•  23rd in Percent of Adults Not Seeing a Doctor Due to Cost

2013.  According to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, using data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, 14.9% of New Jersey adults aged 18 years and older reported not seeing a doctor in 2011 because of cost.  This is slightly better than the U.S. average of 13.5%.  North Dakota was the top ranked state, with just 8.1% of adults failing to see a dioctor due to cost.  Mississippi ranked last, with 21.7% of adults missing a doctor visit due to cost. 

 • 19th in Highest Occupancy Rate for Certified Nursing Facilities

2012.  With an occupancy rate of 87.9 percent, New Jersey had one of the 10 highest certified nursing facility occupancy rates in 2011 according to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. South Dakota had the highest with 100 percent and Oregon had the lowest with 61.4 percent.

• 9th Highest in Average Number of Deficiencies Per Nursing Facilities

2012.  In 2011, New Jersey nursing facilities had an average of 5.9 deficiencies, ranking 9th highest, according to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.  This was down from 7.5 deficiencies per facility in 2010.  The highest ranking state was Rhode Island, with just 2.7 deficiencies per facility.  The worst was the District of Columbia, with 18.4 deficiencies per facility. 

• Top 10 in Incidence Rate for Cancer

January 30, 2014.  Between 2006 and 2010, New Jersey males contracted cancer at a rate of 583 cases per 100,000, ranking 6th highest among all states.  Females in New Jersey had an incidence rate of 451 per 100,000, ranking 9th highest among the states.   However, death rates from cancer were much lower in the state.   New Jersey had much lower death rated from cancer, ranking 35th highest for men and  19th for women. Data are from the American Cancer Society, Cancer Facts and Figures-2014.

• 2nd in the Nation in Medicare Reimbursements for Chronically Ill

July, 2014.  According to 2010 data frm the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care, average Medicare reimbursements for chronically ill patients in New Jersey during the last two years of their life averaged $83,688, second only to California.  The lowest reimbursements were in North Dakota--just $48,650 per patient. 


International Rankings

• 34th Internationally for Infant mortality rate

2013.  When comparing New Jersey to 194 countries in the world, New Jersey had the 34th lowest rate of infant mortality with 4.8 deaths in the first year of life per 1,000 live births in 2010. This is significantly lower than the United States rate of 6.3 deaths per 1,000 live births.  Iceland had the lowest rate of 1.9 daths per 1,000 live births.  Sierra Leone had the highest with 123 children of every 1,000 born dying in their first year.  Data are from the World Health Organization Statistics, 2013. 

• 27th Internationally for Life Expectancy

2013.  In 2013, the average person born in New Jersey could expect to live 80.3 years.  This ranks 27th when compared to nations around the world, according to data from the World Bank.  The highest rates of life expectancy (83 years) were shared by Hong Kong, Japan, Italy, France, Iceland, and Switzerland.  Among countries reporting, Sierra Leone had the lowest life expectancy at birth--just 45 years.

• 9th Internationally for Number of Deaths Due to Suicide

December 19, 2012.  Compared to 65 OECD countries in 2010, New Jersey has the 9th lowest rate of deaths due to suicide, adjusted for the age profile of the population.  New Jersey's rate was 7.7 suicides per 100,000 members of the population.  The lowest suicvde rate was .8 suicides per 100,000 for South Africa.  The highest rate was 33.5 suicides per 100,000 in South Korea.  Data are from the 2013 OECD Factbook


State and Local Reports

Health Risk Index for New Jersey Counties

The New Jersey Health Risk Index combines seven indicators from the BRFSS survey: Health Status, Exercise, Diabetes, Flu vaccination, Current Smoking, Binge Drinking and Obesity. Then compares how New Jersey counties performed in 2008 and 2010. The results are presented on a scale of 1 (worst) to 100 (best). 

New Jersey's counties ranged, on a scale of a possible 100 points (best score), from 33 to 70. In 2010, Somerset County had the highest score indicating behaviors leading to good health.  Two additional counties scored above 60 points, Hunterdon (68) and Morris (65). Camden County was the least healthy in 2010 with a score of 33 points, while Hudson County was the lowest in 2008 with 27 points.  Atlantic County also had a score below 40 points in both years.

Overall, risky health behavior worsened slightly in New Jersey from 2008 to 2010. The Health Behavior Index declined in 9 counties, stayed the same in 3 others and increased by less than 4 percent in 4 others. The bright spots were in Hudson and Passaic counties. Hudson had a 60 percent increase, albeit from 27, the lowest score of all counties in 2008; and Passaic County had a 27 percent increase.

Read the full report


Additional Reports


Raymond J. Castro, State Support Essential for Federal Health Insurance Exchange, NJ Policy Perspective, April 2013.


Raymond J. Castro, Expanding Medicaid Would Save New Jersey Billions of Dollars, NJ Policy Perspective, February 2013.

Joel C. Cantor, Dorothy Gaboda, Jose Nova and Kristen Lloyd, Health Insurance Status in New Jersey After Implementation of the Affordable Care Act, Rutgers Center for State Health Policy, August 2011.

Castle Connolly Medical, Top Hospitals: NJ Doctors Grade the State's Best Medical Centers, Inside New Jersey, 2010.

Kate Greenwood, The Affordable Care Act’s Risk Adjustment and Other Risk-Spreading Mechanisms: Needed Support for New Jersey’s Health Insurance Exchange, Seton Hall University School of Law, August 2012.

Raymond Castro, Good Medicine: The Impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on New Jersey’s Working Families with Children, New Jersey Policy Perspective, March 2011.

NJ for Health Care, Making Health Care Affordable to New Jersey: Real Families, Real Health Care Stories, Citizen Education Fund, December 2009.

Center for Health Statistics, Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities in New Jersey, New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, December 2007.


Data from the NJ DataBank may be used with the following acknowledgement:

Source: NJ DataBank (, a project of the School of Public Affairs and Administration, Rutgers University-Campus at Newark