Happiness and overall well-being are improving in the United States. According to a recent report from Sharecare, an Atlanta based digital health company, several key factors that impact quality of life improved in the United States in 2021 compared to the previous year.
The report, Sharecare’s Community Well-Being Index, uses the results of thousands of surveys and key socioeconomic data to measure elements of overall well-being. These include financial security, physical health, social connections, and a sense of purpose – as well as access to health care, healthy food, transportation, and economic opportunity.
Based on these and other measures, the overall well-being score in the United States inched up from 60.5 out of 100 in 2020, to 60.9 out of 100 in 2021. While the overall trend is encouraging, well-being scores vary considerably across the country.
Using data compiled by Sharecare, 24/7 Tempo identified the happiest states in America. States are ranked by their well-being index score, from worst to best. These scores range from less than 50 out of 100 in some states, to over 70 in others.
The states with the lowest reported levels of well-being are almost exclusively located in the South, while the happiest states are concentrated in the West and the Northeast.
While the survey results that these rankings are partially subjective, these well-being rankings are strongly correlated with demonstrable outcomes. For example, rates of depression are 1.4 times higher in the 10 bottom-ranked states than they are in the top ranked states. Residents of low ranked states are also more likely to suffer from diabetes or a heart attack than those in the highest ranked states. (Here is a look at the healthiest county in every state.)
Additionally, incomes tend to be higher than average in the highest ranking states, while the lowest ranking states tend to have low median incomes and high levels of poverty. Here is a look at the poorest city in every state.
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