The 2009 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index is out, purporting to show how citizens in each state in the union have been doing in terms of emotional and physical status. New York showed a net gain over last year of 0.3 points, from 64.7 to 65. No, we didn’t notice, either.
The number is calculated via survey of respondents’ evaluation of their lives — both how they are, and how they expect them to get — emotional health, work environment, health, “Basic Access” to things like food, water, health insurance, dentistry, etc. By their measure, a little more than three-quarters of Mississippi residents have Basic Access, which suggests that maybe George Clooney should organize a telethon for them.
New York boasts a Basic Access number of 82.8, down several places from Minnesota at 85.9. None of these numbers is as high as we would have expected.
Hawaii leads the Well-Being list with a 70.2 overall, displacing the former leader, Utah. The Aloha State also leads in Life Evaluation, and in Physical and Emotional Health. Utah still leads in Work Environment (the worst is Delaware, probably because everyone’s in the credit card business and spends the day impoverishing people), and Vermont laps the nation in Healthy Behavior.
The city with the best Well-Being? Boulder, Colorado. We’re not sure what makes the town so well-been, unless it’s the friendly civic environmental consulting teams that go door to door offering to caulk your windows and such like to green the place up.
Gallup and Healthways do short-term surveys, too, and find that after a steady decline starting last summer, the overall U.S. Well-Being Index number jumped 1.1 percent as Americans “reported more optimism about their current life circumstances and prospects for the future than at any point since Well-Being Index measurement commenced 25 months ago,” which we also find suspicious.