What does it take to be America’s happiest city? Images of frolicking dogs, chirping bluebirds, and pie on every window sill come to mind, but when the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index set out to determine this elusive answer they used measures other than those from a Norman Rockwell illustration.
Based on the results of telephone surveys with a random sample of 352,840 adults, compilers of the index asked numerous questions about six sub-indexes: life evaluation, emotional health, work environment, physical health, healthy behaviors, and access to basic necessities. The overall score and each of the six sub-index scores were calculated on a scale from 0 to 100, where a score of 100 represents the ideal.
To determine how to include which cities, they used the Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) as defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. In many cases, more than one city is included in the same MSA. Areas in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia were included.
Here are the overall rankings for all cities in the country–number 1 being deemed the best for well being. (Ranking by large, medium, and small city follows.)
Next: The 10 Happiest Cities: Overall Ranking (cities of all sizes).
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