Platte County tops rankings of Missouri counties for quality of life

Platte County ranked No. 1 out of 115 counties in Missouri for quality of life and No. 2 for health factors, according to annual study. 

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) 2016 county health rankings compare differences on a broad range of indicators that affect quality of life and health among almost every county throughout the United States. Platte County’s top ranking reflects residents’ high priority on health as evidenced by their support for parks, schools, roads, alternate transportation and safe neighborhoods where they live and work.

For more than 40 years, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care, assisting others to build a national culture of health enabling everyone in America to live longer, healthier lives.

The county health rankings, a collaboration between RWJF and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute (UWPHI), compares counties within each state on more than 30 factors impacting health such as education, jobs, housing, exercise, commuting times, and more. Over the past seven years the rankings — available at — have become an important tool for local communities working to build a culture of health.

Platte County also supports an informal and friendly economic environment that results in safe neighborhoods and healthy business sectors — retail, office and industrial, including the Kansas City International Airport. Public investment in a reliable transportation network contributes directly to private investment that results in resident happiness. 

“Platte County’s unique quality of life provides the perfect complement to excellent business opportunities,” said Alicia Stephens, executive director of the Platte County Economic Development Council. “It’s all about choices — the choice of a competitive location for business and a choice place that provides a unique work-life balance. Platte County’s quality of life ranking equates to accessibility, amenities, education, safety and, most important, working together toward the common goal of making Platte County a premier location.”

With a commitment to improve the quality of life for all citizens, Platte County has made significant improvements in the area of parks and recreation during the past 15 years. 

In 2000, the county owned only one 18-acre park for its residents. By collaborating with every city, school district and numerous nonprofit organizations, the county has been able to leverage its resources to provide a wide variety of parks and amenities while avoiding duplication of services since then.

During the past 15 years, Platte County implemented a comprehensive parks system master plan to create six new parks, more than 30 miles of trails, programming at all locations to engage the widest community participation and two indoor community centers operated through a unique partnership with the YMCA.

Platte County residents support the YMCA’s with a membership density that surpasses any others in the Kansas City area.

“As a charitable nonprofit organization dedicated to healthy living, the Y is grateful to partner with Platte County to operate our two community centers and provide a variety of programs that help improve quality of life for residents of all ages,” said David Byrd, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Kansas City. “From chronic disease prevention and management to social activities, our programs impact quality of life not only by improving physical health, but also enriching the quality of mental and social well-being.”