Do you think your city is happy? Now consider how you and others in your city would rate overall well-being. Still think it’s happy? Gallup recently released some of the latest data from its “State of American Well-Being” survey, and some of the happiest cities may come as a surprise, while others — not so much.
Looking at how 189 metropolitan areas/communities throughout the U.S. rated their well-being, Gallup conducted over 178,000 interviews asking respondents to evaluate their life and rate certain aspects like health and work. “Well-being is about the interaction between physical health, finding your daily work and experiences fulfilling, having strong social relationships, and access to the resources you need, feeling financially secure, and being part of a true community,” wrote Tom Rath, a New York Times best-selling author, in the report. “The report provides unmatched information that allows leaders to understand how their communities stack up and where they can improve, and it beings America into focus with the most comprehensive picture of well-being available.”
When it came to these factors, the top 10 happiest communities were:
· Provo-Orem, Utah
· Boulder, Colo.
· Fort Collins-Loveland, Colo.
· Honolulu, Hawaii
· San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.
· Ann Arbor, Mich.
· Naples-Marco Island, Fla.
· San Luis Obispo- Paso Robles, Calif.
· San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, Calif.
· Lincoln, Neb.
Provo has continued to be somewhere in the top four since Gallup began doing the surveys — this is the sixth one. It’s been described as family-friendly and fun by Forbes, one of the best creative hubs job-seekers by U.S. World & News Report, and a great spot for people looking for adventure and good eats by National Geographic. The report says that communities that tend to be happier are actively investing in infrastructure (bike lanes and public transportation), access to local food (farmers markets), and educational events (giving people a sense of community). In turn, these solutions provide a domino effect for well-being.
“Many communities with high well-being are achieving this status by choosing to intentionally cultivate and embrace a clear culture of well-being, where high well-being options become the easy and natural choice for their citizens,” the report said. “A culture in which leaders in business, government, education, health care, faith, and the arts act on philosophy that fostering and improving well-being for their citizens is ‘how we do things around here.’”
As Rath wrote, learning about these statistics increases awareness to the scope of happiness within the country. And we’re going to need it, as the U.S. ranks 17 — not terrible, but we can do better — in the United Nation’s “World Happiness Report.”
Also, just for good measure, here are Gallup’s top 10 unhappiest communities:
· Huntington-Ashland, W. Va-Ky-Ohio
· Charleston, W. Va.
· Redding, Calif.
· Spartanburg, S.C.
· Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, N.C.
· Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas
· Columbus, Ga., Ala.
· Shreveport-Bossier City, La.
· Mobile, Ala.
· Evansville, Ind.-Ky.