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CityHealth offers the first-ever assessment of how our nation’s 40 largest cities fare when it comes to policies that can make real, lasting impacts in people’s everyday quality of life. All of our recommendations are based in evidence, backed by experts, and have a track record of bipartisan support. Learn what’s happening in a city near you.
Gold cities received five or more gold medals across each of the nine policies.
Silver cities received five or more gold or silver medals across each of the nine policies.
Bronze cities received four or more gold, silver, or bronze medals across each of the nine policies.
No medal cities did not receive the necessary number of gold, silver, or bronze medals across each of the nine policies to qualify for a medal.
We’ve got nine policies that boost people’s well-being and quality of life and make cities great places to live. We’ve analyzed how our nation’s largest cities are doing when it comes to getting these policies on the books.
Out of the nation’s 40 largest cities
To assemble our list of recommendations, we consulted a wide range of established health and policy research. We conducted interviews with elected city leaders and focus groups with city residents. We consulted a panel of advisers – made up of experts from multiple sectors, US regions, and across the political spectrum – to help us select pragmatic policies that can tangibly improve people’s lives.
Earned sick leave laws reduce the spread of contagious illnesses, increase employment and income stability, and save cities money in health care costs.
Children who attend high-quality pre-k are more likely to succeed in school, go on to stable jobs and earn more as adults—all of which are linked to better health and stronger communities.
As cities grow, it’s important that residents of all income levels have access to affordable housing that sets them up for good health.
Complete streets policies unlock opportunities by allowing city residents to safely walk, bike, drive and take public transit around their community.
Neighborhoods with high concentrations of alcohol outlets are linked to more drinking and higher rates of violence and driving under the influence. Policies that control the number of alcohol sales outlets can reduce crime, increase safety, and reduce spending on health care and criminal justice.
Curbing tobacco use among young adults has been shown to decrease the number of people who start—and continue—smoking.
Comprehensive smoke-free air laws protect non-smokers from secondhand smoke and reduce smokers’ consumption of tobacco—the leading cause of preventable death in the US.
Policies requiring food establishments to publicly post safety inspection “grades” empower consumers, reduce foodborne illness rates and cut down on health care costs.
Policies that make sure healthy food options are available on public property aid city residents in making smart decisions that will help them achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
A project of the de Beaumont Foundation