Naples, Florida is a special place. The Smithsonian Magazine reported that the city has been dubbed as the happiest place in America for two consecutive years based on the holistic concept of “American well-being” as an indicator of happiness instead of simply basing it on median income.
A Gallup-Healthways poll measured the American well-being index which includes multiple factors that lead to personal and social happiness. These include rates of healthy eating, community-well-being, daily stress, and lifetimes diagnosed for depression. It basically gives a grade on how residents feel about their own physical, emotional and fiscal health, as well as the community’s social health.
According to Time, some 350,000 respondents participated in the polls. They rated 189 communities based on financial, physical, social, and emotional health. The city of Naples, along with neighboring Immokalee and Marco Island, ranked first in the index for both 2015 and 2016.
Other communities which have high well-being indices are temperate or semi-tropical climates near the ocean such as Florida and California with two each, and another in Hawaii.
One of the key factors measured in the State of American Well-Being: 2016 Community Well-Being Rankings survey is the level of individual stress within the community. Naples has been described as the ideal location because of a laid-back lifestyle, higher median income, community spirit, and easy access to medical and dental facilities.
“It isn’t just about physical health or income — there is a larger need to feel connected”
Gallup-Healthways President Karissa Price said the level of satisfaction was the same for both beachside and inland communities. She noted that residents spoke of a having a “strong sense of purpose often rooted in a shared culture and a feeling of belonging”. She further said: “It isn’t just about physical health or income — there is a larger need to feel connected.”
Additionally, the survey revealed that health is now a non-negotiable among Americans. Cities which ranked low in the polls were in the Southern U.S. and industrial Midwest. They scored dismally in the well-being category because of higher incidences of obesity, smoking, and other health problems.
The results tell us that people want to belong to a community where there is an emphasis on being healthy – on all aspects of living. A place that offers this equips its residents to better handle the stresses of daily life. A community that has happier, healthier, more affluent and socially active members makes a bold impact on society in general because these are people who simply want the best out of life.