A new report from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index® ranks the 100 largest communities in the United States by their comparative well-being. North-Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida, has the nation's highest well-being, followed by Urban Honolulu, Hawaii; Raleigh, North Carolina; Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, California; and El Paso, Texas. El Paso also leads the nation in purpose and physical well-being.
The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index uses a holistic definition of well-being and self-reported data from individuals across the globe to create a unique view of societies' progress on the elements that matter most to well-being: purpose, social, financial, community and physical. It is the most proven, mature and comprehensive measure of well-being in populations.
North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton No. 1 "Happiest City in America." The poll reports population growth of 6.4 percent between mid-2010 and July 2014, attributing the cause to employment opportunity and Americans seeking a warmer climate.
- North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL
- Poverty rate: 14.4%
- 2013 unemployment rate: 7.2%
- Adult obesity rate: 22.5%
Roughly 30% of the area's population was at least 65 years old, nearly the highest share compared to other metro areas. Many members of the area's relatively large elderly population are likely retired. Living in retirement does not guarantee happiness, but more free time and retirement living is likely a major contributor to well-being in the North Port metro area. It is also a popular destination for migrants, with the population growing 6.4% from the middle of 2010 through July of last year, one of the faster growth rates compared to other metro areas. Warm weather is strongly associated with metro area growth, and Florida's favorable climate is both a luxury for residents and an added incentive for Americans looking to relocate. Strong health indicators also explain the metro's lead position on Gallup's Index. The obesity rate of 22.5% in the North Port metro was among the lower rates nationwide.
The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index score for the nation and for each community comprises metrics affecting overall well-being and each of the five essential elements 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