Expanding Opportunities for Health in Small and Mid-Size Cities

Understanding smaller cities’ strengths, challenges, and opportunities for achieving health and well-being for all.
Father and son renting a city bike.

Small and mid-size cities are finding innovative solutions to expand health and well-being.


Across America, many small and mid-size cities are experiencing a resurgence1 due, in part, to investments in green spaces and parks, upswings in local tech hubs, and downtown redevelopment.

At the same time, these places—home to one in five people in the U.S.2—face higher rates of premature death and poverty than larger cities.3 The factors driving these disparities vary widely, from shifting demographics, to changing economies and disinvestment, to inadequate municipal tax funding for basic services.

And the sharp rise in population growth has led some places to struggle with the negative impacts of gentrification and displacement that can exacerbate inequalities and poor health.

Amid these complex issues, with a range of partners, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is supporting the efforts of small and mid-size cities across the nation to develop solutions that effectively leverage local resources and strengths. These include strengthening community ties, engaging residents, and identifying more opportunities for working across sectors.

Connected with these efforts, this collection shares key research on small and mid-size cities; insights into effective strategies for creating healthier, more equitable places to live; and resources for cities across America working to achieve better health for all.


Achieving Health Equity

A County Health Rankings' tool helping communities identify what policy and system changes may be the best fit to address local health needs.

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