You may have heard the news that King County is the healthiest county in Washington state.

“Compared to the national average, King County has a lower rate of premature death and a lower share of adults reporting that they're in poor physical health.” - Axios

Great news for King County residents, but what caught my eye in the data hidden inside the County Health Rankings & Roadmap report** from researchers at the University of Wisconsin, is that Pend-Oreille County has the highest rate of premature death in Washington state. Whoa!

Washington County with Highest Rate of Premature Deaths - Pend Oreille (1)

I have lived in Central Washington for over twenty years and I don’t seldom hear any news about Pend-Oreille County, so here are some “fun facts” about this interesting place to live.

Pend-Oreille County (circa 1911) is Washington’s youngest county, the baby of the family, you could say.

Pend-Oreille County is bordered by a Canadian neighbor, Central Kootenay, British Columbia, to its direct north and the state of Idaho to its direct east. Stevens County and Spokane County are its Washington state county neighbors to the south and west, respectively.

The average lifespan in Pend-Oreille is 74 years, therefore, residents in this county have the highest chance of dying before they turn 75.

There is also a higher percentage of child mortality in Pend-Oreille County (90) than the state average (40) and national average (50).

The last available Census record is in 2021, when Pend-Oreille County had around 13,000 residents.

It's hard to believe this beautiful place in Washington has the highest rate of premature death.

The main towns of Pend-Oreille County include Cusik, Ione, Metaline, Metaline Falls, and Newport, its county seat.

You can tour some of the original log cabins and buildings left over from the early days when pioneers wandered into Newport; just visit the Pend-Oreille County Historical Museum.

Old Buildings in Pend Oreille County
Pend Oreille County Historical Society via Facebook


Stop by to see the old town bell in  the town of Ione.

Ione Fire Bell in Pend Oreille County, WA
Pend Oreille County Historical Society via Facebook


Visit the second oldest bar in Washington state at Kelly’s Bar & Grill, established in 1894.

Kelly's Bar & Grill Established 1894 is the second oldest bar in Washington state
Kelly's Bar & Grill via Facebook


You can also go fishing and whatnot in the lake.

@joeysperanzi #pnw #pendoreille #WA #fishing #pendoreilleriver ♬ original sound - Joey Speranzi


You can also make like a local and head to Sand Point, Id., for a fun road trip.

@sydtheekydd 10/10 recommend renting a pontoon with your friends #fypシ #idaho #sandpoint #lakelife #CompleteMyLook @katiemaytee ♬ swing lynn - lovdfilmz


Why does Pend-Oreille County have the highest rates of premature death?

One source says it’s because of cancer and heart disease.


**Below is a list of the other findings from the County Health Rankings & Roadmap report of Washington state deaths per 100.000 county residents. (NOTE: There was no 2024 data available for Columbia, Garfield, and Wahkiakum Counties.)

Which rate of Washington state county premature deaths in this report shocked you?

Whatcom: 5800
Pierce: 7200
Yakima: 9400
King: 5100
Mason: 8500
Kitsap: 6100
Jefferson: 7900
Grays Harbor: 10,000
Clallum: 8100
Lewis: 8800
Pacific: 8400
Cowlitz: 9100
Clark: 6300
Skamania: 6900
Klickitat: 7300
Kittitas: 5700
Chelan: 5800
Snohomish: 5800
Skagit: 6600
Whatcom: 5800
Okanogan: 9000
Douglas: 5300
Ferry: 11,000
Stevens: 7700
Pend-Oreille: 11,700
Spokane: 7600
Lincoln: 7800
Grant: 7900
Adams: 7500
Whitman: 7200
Franklin: 5700
Benton: 6600
Walla Walla: 6700
Asotin: 8900
Thurston: 6400
Island/San Juan: 3500




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