Naples, Florida, remains top U.S. metro for well-being
Barnstable Town, Massachusetts, and Santa Cruz-Watsonville, California - each ranked among the top six last year - had the second- and third-highest well-being, respectively. Urban Honolulu, Hawaii, and Charlottesville, Virginia, rounded out the top five.
Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island ascended to the top spot in 2014-2015, having fallen to the No. 7 well-being position in 2012-2013. The area's overall Well-Being Index score was 66.3, 1.3 points higher its 2014-2015 score.
This improvement is about triple the improvement measured nationally over this time period. The national Well-Being Index score was 61.6 in 2014, 61.7 in 2015 and 62.1 in 2016.
Gallup tracks Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) well-being on the basis of two-year rolling averages, allowing for larger sample sizes that improve the statistical accuracy of the data. About half of all 2015-2016 data in this reporting period overlap with the 2014-2015 index data.
The community-level data are drawn from more than 354,000 interviews with U.S. adults across all 50 states, conducted from Jan. 2, 2015, through Dec. 30, 2016.
All of the top-five communities in 2015-2016 have frequented previous years' lists of the 10 communities with the highest well-being. Other top communities in 2015-2016 that typically have ranked among the highest for well-being since 2008 include North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida; Boulder, Colorado; and San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, California.
Lynchburg, Virginia, broke into the top-10 list for the first time in 2015-2016. Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort, South Carolina, is also a newcomer, placing ninth in the nation for resident well-being. Hilton Head Island has not previously had a sufficient number of completed interviews to be reported.
In 2015-2016, Fort Smith, Arkansas-Oklahoma, had the lowest overall well-being of the 189 communities measured. Fort Smith was second-lowest to Charleston, West Virginia, in 2014-2015.
Charleston did not have enough completed interviews to be reported this year, but it has been among the lowest well-being communities nationally since the onset of the Well-Being Index in 2008.
Along with Fort Smith, most of the communities with the lowest well-being in 2015-2016 have consistently been among the lowest since 2008.
These communities include Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, North Carolina; Huntington-Ashland, West Virginia-Kentucky-Ohio; Chico, California; and Flint, Michigan. ■