What does an ideal community look like? Perhaps it’s one that fosters a well-rounded, meaningful life with love, stable finances, good health and a sense of community.
And where can you find such a place? A comprehensive ranking from Gallup, Healthways and Health eVillages might be a good place to start. The index ranks 190 communities based on responses from about 340,000 telephone interviews conducted from January 2014 to December 2015. The pollsters asked Americans questions about where they live, using five categories: sense of purpose, social relationships, financial security, connection to the community and physical health. Only metropolitan areas with at least 300 completed interviews were included in the ranking.
Fourteen of the 20 communities that rank the highest in these aspects are mostly located in four states: Florida, California, Colorado and Texas. Eight of the communities have consistently ranked high for well-being since 2012.
The communities with the lowest well-being are largely scattered across the country, though five of the lowest 20 are found in Ohio. Some of these also had high incidence of food insecurity, when a large segment of the population couldn’t afford enough food for their families, or high health care insecurity, when a major part of the population couldn’t access health care or medicine.
The study’s purpose is to help measure a community’s prosperity and progress and help determine what investments can be made to improve the community’s well-being.
“High well-being communities have citizens who are thriving across many aspects of their lives,” the report states, “who are optimistic about their future, and collectively who are more productive, perform better, and have better health and lower health care costs.”