These states and cities have the best—and worst—brain health in America. See where your home ranks in mood, memory, and more

By their own admission, Americans’ cognitive well-being is improving. That’s according to a new survey conducted by brain health and wellness platform Muse by Interaxon. 

For its 2024 Muse Brain Health Report, the Toronto-based company partnered with Pollfish to survey 5,000 U.S. adults in six brain health areas—mood, sleep, focus, memory, creativity, and productivity—as well as overall well-being. Respondents scored themselves on a scale of 1 to 10 in each category, with a maximum possible score totaling 60.

This year’s average brain health score was 40, compared to 37 in 2022. Self-reported scores were highest in memory, followed by focus, productivity, creativity, and mood. Sleep scores were lowest.

“As we navigate the complex landscape of brain health, the results of this study underscore both progress and obstacles when it comes to understanding our cognitive well-being,” Interaxon Chief Science Officer Walter Greenleaf, Ph.D., said in a news release.

Healthy eating was the activity most positively associated with respondents’ brain health, followed by leisure activities, time with friends, exercise, and volunteering. Other activities linked to higher perceived brain health include spending time outdoors, morning routine, home organization/chores, reading, and meditation.

Muse designed its survey in part with the World Health Organization’s definition of brain health in mind: “the state of brain functioning across cognitive, sensory, social-emotional, behavioral, and motor domains, allowing a person to realize their full potential over the life course, irrespective of the presence or absence of disorders.”

State rankings of overall brain health changed drastically in the last two years. New Hampshire jumped 30 places to take the top spot in 2024, while 2022’s winner, Rhode Island, plummeted to No. 48. Just three states in the top 10 were also among 2022’s cohort. No state to top one of the six cognitive well-being categories two years ago did so again this year.

Less variation was present among the 29 cities surveyed. While 2022 winner Orlando, Florida, moved down six spots, the Sunshine State once again had three cities in the top 10, including No. 1 Miami and No. 2 Tampa-St. Petersburg. Among this year’s top 10, No. 6 Atlanta, Georgia, made the biggest jump, up from No. 24 in 2022.

10 states with best brain health

1. New Hampshire (up from No. 31)
2. South Carolina (up from No. 24)
3. Nevada (up from No. 39)
4. Massachusetts (up from No. 21)
5. New Jersey (up from No. 10)
6. Florida (up from No. 13)
7. Maine (down from No. 4)
8. Mississippi (up from No. 9)
9. New York (up from No. 16)
10. Delaware (up from No. 20)

10 states with worst brain health

50. North Dakota (down from No. 44)
49. West Virginia (down from No. 46)
48. Rhode Island (down from No. 1)
47. New Mexico (down from No. 25)
46. Wyoming (down from No. 11)
45. Oregon (down from No. 40)
44. Arkansas (down from No. 17)
43. Vermont (down from No. 38)
42. Louisiana (down from No. 41)
41. Kentucky (up from No. 42)

10 cities with best brain health

1. Miami, Florida (up from No. 6)
2. Tampa-St. Petersburg, Florida (up from No. 10)
3. Charlotte, North Carolina (up from No. 11)
4. Cleveland, Ohio (up from No. 17)
5. Boston, Massachusetts (up from No. 21)
6. Atlanta, Georgia (up from No. 24)
7. Orlando, Florida (down from No. 1)
8. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (up from No. 13)
9. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, California (down from No. 3)
10. Hartford-New Haven, Connecticut (up from No. 15)

Top states in 6 brain health categories

  • Creativity: Mississippi (was Alaska)
  • Focus: Nevada (was Wyoming)
  • Memory: Alaska (was Maine)
  • Mood: South Dakota (was Rhode Island)
  • Productivity: Mississippi (was Rhode Island)
  • Sleep: South Carolina (was Rhode Island)

Top cities in 6 brain health categories

  • Creativity: Atlanta (was Detroit)
  • Focus: Cleveland (was Orlando)
  • Memory: Miami (was Orlando)
  • Mood: Sacramento (was Minneapolis-St. Paul)
  • Productivity: Sacramento (was Orlando)
  • Sleep: Cleveland (was Miami)

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