New Well-Being Index Numbers: How Happy is Rhode Island?
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
The latest numbers are in, as the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index has just released its 2011 findings. And the answer is: not that happy.
Happiness and the Well-Being Index
To calculate the index that summarizes a place's overall happiness, Gallup completed interviews with 1,000 US adults, nationally, seven days a week (only excluding major holidays). Based on their response, individuals and communities receive an overall well-being composite score on each of six sub-indices including life evaluation, emotional health, physical health, healthy behavior, work environment, and basic access to necessities crucial to high well-being, including clean water, medicine, safe places to exercise, as well as access to doctors, health insurance, and enough money for food, shelter, and healthcare.
Rhode Island's sense of well-being
Rhode Island's new Well-Being Index score of 61.6 places us at #35 nationally (a drop of two spots from last year's ranking of #33), and ranks last among the 6 New England states. New Hampshire scored highest with a
On the survey's sub-measures, Rhode Island had two notable successes: we ranked #12 in healthy behaviors in the country, up from #22 last year, and on basic access we ranked #22 (although this was down from #18 a year ago). We'll take what we can get.
Providence: Getting happier
The survey also looks at the country's major metropolitan areas, and the Providence/New Bedford Fall River Metropolitan Statistical Area is a bit happier this year, moving up from last year's #142 ranking, to #134 in the country. Providence et al. managed to rank in the Top 100 nationally in healthy behavior, notching a #65 ranking, a bold move up from #106 in 2010.
The happiest places
The happiest state this year was Hawaii, leading the nation with a Well-Being Index score of 70.2, scoring highest on emotional health (84.1) and healthy behaviors (68.9). Rounding out the list of the top 10 states in well-being are North Dakota (70.0), Minnesota (69.2), Alaska (69.0), Utah (69.0), Colorado (68.4), Kansas (68.4), Nebraska (68.3), New Hampshire (68.2) and Montana (68.0).
Specifically, Alaska garnered the highest score for life evaluation (60.2), North Dakota led in work environment (54.3), Minnesota earned the top score for physical health (79.9) and Massachusetts was ranked first for basic access (86.6).
The unhappiest places
Southern and rust-belt states are among the nation's worst performing in well-being. The states with lowest Well-Being Index scores are West Virginia (62.3), Kentucky (63.3), Mississippi (63.4), Delaware (64.2), Ohio (64.5), Alabama (64.6), Arkansas (64.7), Missouri (64.8), Florida (64.9), Tennessee (65.0) and Nevada (65.0).
"Increased well-being is vital to improving the physical, emotional and financial health of Americans," said Daniel Witters, lead Well-Being Index researcher at Gallup. "It is an effective predictor of healthcare costs, job performance and productivity. These data can help identify needs and guide interventions to improve the well-being of the nation."
For more information on this year's rankings, go here.
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