This may come as no surprise to you–Hawaii has achieved the highest overall well-being ranking in the nation. This analysis is based on data from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index®, a definitive measure and empiric database of real-time changes in well-being throughout the world.
Over 177,000 interviews with individuals nationwide were included in the 2015 analysis, which goes beyond physical components to capture how Americans feel and experience the context of their daily lives.
In addition to capturing aspects of physical health, the Well-Being Index examines Americans’ perceptions on topics that span individuals’ sense of purpose, social relationships, financial security and relationship to their community. These five interrelated elements are proven to directly influence quality of life, health-care costs and workplace productivity.
“Americans struggle notoriously when it comes to balancing day-to-day life with behaviors that can keep us well. The time is right for policymakers, employers and the community to work together to improve well-being across our nation,” said Donato J. Tramuto, CEO, Healthways.
“Leaders are beginning to step up as champions, investing to help their employees, members, and citizens live and work better, to realize healthier lifestyles and better manage illness. These leaders know that investments in well-being have a measurable and sustainable impact on business performance, as well as far-reaching benefits that impact the health of communities, states and our nation as a whole,” he continued.
Hawaii reclaimed the top spot as the state with the highest well-being. Alaska slipped to second. Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota, Utah, Arizona and California rounded out the top 10.
Additional insights on the state rankings include:
- In addition to its highest overall score, Hawaii ranked #1 in physical well-being and ranks in the top 10 for every element except social well-being.
- Hawaii and Colorado are the only two states to finish in the top 10 in all eight years of the rankings, with Hawaii occupying the 1st or 2nd spot every year but 2013.
- Since 2012, Hawaii and Colorado join eight other states – Montana, South Dakota, Minnesota, Utah, Nebraska, Iowa, Alaska and Vermont – as having the most consistently high well-being.
- Florida and Alabama had large positive shifts in well-being, with Florida moving up 14 spots in the ranking to 12th overall and Alabama jumping 18 places to 28th overall.
“We are seeing many significant positive developments in well-being nationally, including a decline in the uninsured rate, a decline in smoking and an uptick in financial well-being, but there is still much to be done on the national front and at the state and organizational level,” said Dan Witters, Principal, Research Director, Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, Gallup.
“One specific area of concern continues to be the obesity rate, which continued its relentless upward climb in 2015 and reached another new high, breaking the 28% barrier for the first time. It would behoove state and local leaders of government, as well as employers and health plans, to take a close look at all of the factors influencing the well-being of their constituents in order to build meaningful strategies for improvement.”
In the U.S, higher well-being has been shown to correlate with lower health-care costs and increased worker productivity, in turn enhancing organizational and community competitiveness. Globally, higher well-being has been associated with outcomes indicative of stability and resilience — for example, intent to migrate, trust in elections and local institutions, daily stress, food/shelter security, volunteerism and willingness to help others.
“Recent research at HERO demonstrates a compelling correlation between companies that deliver strong financial returns and those that have documented, best practice wellness programs,” said Paul Terry, president and CEO, HERO (the Health Enhancement Research Organization). “This knowledge can benefit business leaders looking for a competitive edge and investors looking for a sound investment.”
“Data now indicates that people do not leave their problems at their doorsteps when they leave home nor do they leave their work challenges at their desks when they leave work,” added Tramuto. “As leaders, we have an indispensable opportunity to help move the needle and deliver on the constitutional promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all.”