Between Jan. 2 and Dec. 29, 2012, approximately 353,563 adults, aged 18 and older in the U.S., were called on the telephone to find out: in what metros do people have the best well-being. Here are the results.
The survey was conducted by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index survey. The higher the score, the better well-being of that region.
Top 10 Metro Ares with Best Overall Well-being
1.) Lincoln, Nebraska: 72.8
2.) Boulder, Colorado: 72.7
3.) Burlington and South Burlington, Vermont: 72.4
4.) Provo and Orem, Utah: 71.7
5.) Fort Collins and Loveland, Colorado: 71.6
6.) Barnstable Town, Massachusetts: 71.5
7.) Honolulu, Hawaii: 71.5
8.) Ann Arbor, Michigan: 71.4
9.) Washington, Arlington, and Alexandria, D.C., Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia: 71.3
10.) San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles, California: 71.2
Bottom 11 Metro Areas with Overall Well-Being
1.) Charleston, West Virginia: 60.6
2.) Huntington and Ashland, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio: 61.2
3.) Mobile, Alabama: 62.4
4.) Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas: 62.5
5.) Hickory, Lenoir, and Morganton, North Carolina: 62.7
6.) Fort Smith, Arkansas and Oklahoma: 62.9
7.) Bakersfield, California: 63.0
8.) Evansville, Indiana and Kentucky: 63.1
9.) Rockford, Illinois: 63.1
10.) Spartanburg, South Carolina: 63.4
11.) Utica and Rome, New York: 63.4
Overall, the survey found that people’s well-being is generally higher in Western and Midwestern states, and lower in Southern states.
This is the fourth year West Virginia ranked last in the nation with the lowest level of well-being.
The survey has six sub-indexes that examined life evaluation, emotional health, work environment, physical health, healthy behaviors, and access to basic necessities.
Life evaluation asked people to rank if they felt they were thriving, struggling, or suffering.
Ann Arbor, Michigan scored highest in well-being of how residents evaluated life and Hickory, Lenoir, and Morganton, N.C. scored the lowest.
Emotional health measured people’s daily experiences in smiling and laughing, being treated with respect, enjoyment, happiness, worry, sadness, anger, stress, learning to do something interesting, or depression.
Honolulu, Hawaii scored the highest in emotional health well-being and Charleston, West Virginia scored the lowest.
The well-being of the work environment looked at people’s job satisfaction, ability to use one’s strengths at work, the supervisor’s treatment, and whether the supervisor created an open and trusting work environment.
Lincoln, Nebraska scored the highest in people’s well-being in the work environment and Fayetteville, N.C. scored the lowest.
Physical health looked at sick days in the past month, diseases, health problems that get in the way of normal activities, obesity, feeling well-rested, energy, colds, the flu, and headaches.
In physical health well-being, Charlottesville, Virginia scored the highest and Huntington and Ashland, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio scored the lowest.
Healthy behaviors looked lifestyle habits like smoking, eating healthy, weekly consumption of fruits and vegetables, and the frequency of weekly exercise.
Salina, California scored the highest in well-being of healthy behaviors and Lafayette, Louisiana scored the lowest.
Basic access measured if the residents had access to necessities to have a high level of well-being. Those necessities are one’s satisfaction with the community, felt the area was getting better as a place to live, clean water and medicine readily available, safe place to exercise, affordable fruits and vegetables, felt safe walking alone at night, visited a dentist recently, enough money for food, shelter, and healthcare, and had access to a doctor and health insurance.
In basic access, Holland and Grand Haven, Michigan scored the highest and McAllen, Edinburg, and Mission, Texas scored the highest.
The metro areas referenced in this article are based on the Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) as defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, according to the Gallup survey webpage.
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