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slides: NEW: How Happy Is Rhode Island—Latest Gallup Well-Being Index

Wednesday, March 06, 2013


Rhode Island may need an attitude adjustment, according to the latest Well-Being Index numbers from Gallup-Healthways. The state's latest ranking for happiness is #37 in the nation, a drop of 2 spots from last year's ranking. And that ranking was a drop from the year before.

To quantify happiness, the Well-Being Index is an average of six sub-indexes, which individually examine 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. The state-level data are based on daily surveys conducted from January through December 2012, including interviews with more than 350,000 Americans nationwide and at least 1,000 residents in each state except Alaska and Hawaii.

The country's happiest state? Hawaii, for the 4th year in a row. Colorado, Minnesota, Utah, and Vermont rounded out the top 5 states with the highest wellbeing scores.

To see how Rhode Island and the capital, Providence, have fared in other recent health-related rankings, see below.

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#37 Happiness

Rhode Island's happiness levels declined for the 3rd straight year to #37 nationally, according to The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index score. The Well-Being Index is an average of six sub-indexes, which individually examine life evaluation, emotional health, physical health, healthy behavior, work environment, and basic access.

The happiest state in New England for 2012 was Vermont, which ranked #4 nationally. New Hampshire and Massachusett followed at #8 and #9. Connecticut was the #17 happiest state in 2012,  and Maine ranked #21. 

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#19 Adult Smoking Rate

The CDC’s Tobacco Control State Highlights 2012, released in January 2013, showed that 20 percent of Rhode Island adults smoke, giving the state the #19 lowest smoking rate among all states. 

Rhode Island's adult smoking rate has seen a dramatic reduction from 23 percent in 2001 to 16 percent in 2010, but has remained stagnant in the last few years. 

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#3 Youth Smoking Rate

The CDC’s Tobacco Control State Highlights 2012 report shows the 11.4 percent of Rhode Island's youth smoke, ranking it the #3 lowest rate the nation.

"It’s no coincidence that Rhode Island has the third-lowest youth smoking rate and the second-highest cigarette excise tax in the nation," said Michael Fine M.D., director of HEALTH. "Raising the tax rate is a proven best practice strategy for keeping cigarettes out of the hands of young people. We need to remain vigilant in order to continue this positive trend."

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#19 in Sexual Health

Rhode Island comes out in last place for sexual health in New England, according to first-ever Sexual Health Rankings, released in January 2013.

The first-ever assessment of state-by-state data on 26 comprehensive health and services measures that speak to sexual health put the Ocean State at #19 overall in the US, and #6 among New England states. Vermont was the #1 state in the country for sexual health, while Mississipi was the worst at #51. Variance, LLC, has produced the rankings in collaboration with The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health, an education and advocacy organization based in Pawtucket, RI.

Get the full story, here.

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#10 Healthiest State

Rhode Island is the #10 healthiest state in the nation, according to the America’s Health Rankings®—2012 edition report, released in December 2012. Rhode Island’s status jumped three spots in the new rankings, up from #13 last year.
According to the report, the state’s strengths include its high immunization coverage and ready availability of primary care physicians.

Get the full story, here. 

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#78 in Heart Health

Heartburn? Worse than that. Men's Health Magazine ranked Providence among the worst major metropolitan areas in the US when it comes to heart disease, in October 2012.

In the popular magazine's latest assessment, "Cities at Risk for Heart Disease," Providence was given a near-failing grade of D and #78 ranking among 100 major metropolitan cities. The healthiest heart city? San Francisco. The heart attack capital? Philadelphia.

Get the full story, here. 

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#37 in Obesity

There was sobering news in the August 2012 report on obesity from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC). Rhode Island placed at #37 nationwide for prevalence of self-reported obesity among adults in 2011, at 25.4 percent, based on Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data.

"RI looks good compared to many states, but not as good when compared to other New England states," according to Dara Chadwick, Chief Officer of Health Promotion at RI Department of Health (HEALTH). "Certainly, when it comes to obesity rates, RI has room to improve."

Get the full story, here. 

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#5 Safest Young Drivers

The Greater Providence metropolitan area has one of the safest traffic fatality records for young drivers, according to a July 2012 report released from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to the study of the number and annual rate of motor vehicle crash deaths for the 50 most populous metropolitan statistical areas and 63 of their major cities, Providence drivers ages 15-24 experienced the #5 best fatality rate--9.6 deaths per 100,000 population. This rate represents 22 deaths in 2009, the most recent data year available for the study.

Get the full story, here. 

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#16 in Healthcare Quality

A July 2012 federal assessment of healthcare measures put Rhode Island in the Top 20 in the US, but at the bottom of the New England states.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), a division of the US Department of Health & Human Services, released its state-by-state ranking based on its 2011 National Healthcare Quality Report, which tracks performance on 18 "important" measures of healthcare quality, ranging from how many women get mammograms between the ages of 50 and 74 to vaccination rates among children ages 19-35 months, and from nursing home statistics to home health care measures.

Get the full story, here. 

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#1 in Eye Health

Looking good, Providence. The capital city was named the #1 eye-healthy city in the country by VSP Vision Care, the nation's largest not-for-profit vision benefits and service provider.

In its first-ever Eye Health City Index, VSP calibrated its ranking based on the percentage of people who received an eye exam in 2011 among those who have Vision Care vision benefits in markets where VSP covers 100,000 people or more.

Get the full story, here. 

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#10 Worst for Sleep

Sleep tight, Providence? A March 2012 study said no.

The capital city is one of the 10 worst cities for sleep in the US, according to RealAge.com's latest Youngest and Oldest Cities report.

Providence ranked as the #10 worst city for sleep as part of the wellness Web site's assessment of 22 different health and wellness factors based on responses from more than 28 million users.

Get the full story, here. 

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#35 in Well-Being

How happy is Rhode Island?

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index released its latest findings in March 2012. And the answer was: not that happy.

Rhode Island's Well-Being Index score of 61.6 placed 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 national ranking of #9, followed by Vermont at #12. Massachusetts ranked #14 nationwide, Connecticut at #19, and Maine at #25.

Get the full story, here. 

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#49 Healthiest for Women

In January 2012, Men's Health and Women's Health magazines sponsored a major statistical look at more than 30 factors that contribute to a city's healthiness: from obesity and breast cancer rates to commuting times and hours spent working out. One hundred of the largest cities in the US compete on these measures for bragging rights when it comes to being where the fittest, happiest women reside.

This year, Providence hung in at #49 out of 100 major metropolitan areas to stay in the top half of the healthiest spots for women. It lost by just one slot to #48 New York, but didn't fare so well compared to its sister New England major cities.

Get the full story, here. 

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#51 Healthiest for Men

On the men's front similar health data points were used to rank America's 100 larges metropolitan areas by Men's Health and Women's Health magazines, but adapted to male health factors, including exercise, employment, and air quality, diabetes and depression, using sources from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the CDC, and the FBI.

The Capital City dropped two points in the overall ranking to #51. For men, the top spots this year were Burlington, VT at #1, following by Madison, WI at #2, and Plano, TX at #3. San Jose, CA and Boise, ID rounded out the top 5.

Get the full story, here. 


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