A new survey from Gallup and Healthways puts Lincoln, Nebraska as the number one city in the U.S. for well-being:
Lincoln, Neb., had the highest Well-Being Index score (72.8) in the U.S. across the 189 metropolitan areas that Gallup and Healthways surveyed in 2012. Also in the top 10 are Boulder, Colo.; Provo-Orem, Utah; Ann Arbor, Mich.; Honolulu, Hawaii; Fort Collins-Loveland, Colo.; and Burlington-South Burlington, Vt…
At 60.8, Charleston, W.Va., had the lowest Well-Being Index score, displacing Huntington-Ashland, W.Va.-Ky.-Ohio, which held this position the two previous years. Huntington-Ashland’s score of 61.2 is up from 58.1 in 2010, which is the lowest score on record for any metro area across five years of data collection. Mobile, Ala.; Utica-Rome, N.Y.; Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, N.C.; and Fort Smith, Ark.-Okla.; join Charleston and Huntington-Ashland as frequent occupants of the bottom 10 list each year…
Washington, D.C.-Arlington-Alexandria, Va.-Md.-W.Va., residents reported the highest wellbeing among the nation’s 52 largest metropolitan areas, defined as those with 1 million residents or more, followed by San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, Calif. These two metros have been in the top five among large metro areas in each of the past five years…
The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index score is an average of six sub-indexes, which individually examine life evaluation, emotional health, work environment, physical health, healthy behaviors, and access to basic necessities. The overall score and each of the six sub-index scores are calculated on a scale from 0 to 100, where a score of 100 represents the ideal. Gallup and Healthways have been tracking these measures daily since January 2008.
Interesting as there are more cities from the Great Plains and Midwest than I expected.
A few thoughts about the methodology:
1. After all is added up across these six measures, there isn’t much variation between the top and the bottom. Lincoln had the highest score at 72.8 and Charleston had the lowest at 60.8. So on a scale of 0 to 100, the range was just 12. This suggests there is not much variation in these measures and that this index may not tell us a whole lot. Are Americans simply generally optimistic about these topics or are they realistically not that different across cities?
2. What exactly does Gallup and Healthways do with this information that it requires daily polling? This is not a small sample:
Results are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index survey Jan. 2-Dec. 29, 2012, with a random sample of 353,563 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, selected using random-digit-dial sampling.
Perhaps there is some marketing edge to this surveying or it is related to some big research project.
Bonus well-being info: for occupations, doctors and then K-12 teachers lead the way and manufacturing-production workers and then transportation workers are at the bottom.