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Happy days: the state of the US states

The Gallup-Healthways Wellbeing Index has just been released, with data on wellbeing for each state. 

It makes for interesting reading, it's robust: it's based on 176,000 responses from 50 states. And it's interesting to see how much coverage it's had. It's been in Fast Company, and in Outside Magazine, among others. 

People actually care about wellbeing, it seems.

And the news? Here I'm taking on a pop charts voice… 

  • Wyoming is our biggest mover, up 30 places to no. 4
  • New Mexico's next, up 24 places to climb into the top 10—at 9, one place above Texas
  • Alaska is our third biggest upward mover, leaping 15 places to take the top spot

The survey is based on 5 aspects of well-being: 

  • Purpose: Liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals
  • Social: Having supportive relationships and love in your life
  • Financial: Managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security
  • Community: Liking where you live, feeling safe and having pride in your community
  • Physical: Having good health and enough energy to get things done daily

It's not perfect, but it's a start. And remember what Joseph Stiglitz said: "what we measure affects what we do". 

It'll be interesting to see how individual states respond to this. Will their advertising teams show off how happy you'll be if you live there? Will governors do something about improving areas where their states aren't performing so well?

I think they will. 


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