Hawaii, according to a recent Gallup-Healthways “Well-Being Index” poll, has the highest percentage of residents (61.9 percent) who consider themselves “thriving.” Go figure.
Utah (59.3) and South Dakota (58.3) ranked second and third, respectively, in the percentage of citizens describing their lives as thriving, according to a study covering the first six months of 2012. Maryland, we are pleased to report, came in fourth among the states, with 58 percent of residents surveyed describing their lives as thriving.
West Virginia, Maine and Delaware scored lowest in the survey.
Atlantic Cities wrote about the findings in a story Thursday. Gallup classifies Americans as "thriving," "struggling," or "suffering" according to how they rate their lives "at this time" and "about five years from now" on a ladder scale from zero to 10.
“Nationwide so far in 2012, 53.6 percent of U.S. adults rated their lives positively enough to be considered thriving, rating their current lives an average of 6.9 and their lives in five years an average of 7.8, marking a slight improvement compared to 2011,” Gallup reports on their website.
Analysis by Richard Florida, author of The Rise of the Creative Class, says a state’s “thriving” ranking is connected to its wealth, individual income — correlated to happiness in national surveys —and percentage of college graduations.
“Not surprisingly, jobs — or the job market — matters: thriving is lower in states with higher levels of unemployment,” Florida writes, while noting that a positive perception of one’s economic future is also linked to "thriving." Overall, the largest concentration of thriving states were found in the Midwest and Great Plains.
The description of thriving at a statewide level appears to be almost exclusively associated with economic conditions.
“Thriving at the state level is not significantly related to inequality, political ideology or affiliation or religion, according to our analysis,” Florida concludes.
In a Gallup-Healthways 2011 survey, Maryland ranked 13th in the overall Well-Being Index.