posted February 15, 2010

Lakeshore Communities Second Nationally in Overall Well-Being

The college's hometown has placed second in the nation for overall well-being in a report released recently by Gallup and Healthways.

The 2009 "Gallup-Healthways Well Being Index" (WBI) ranks Holland-Grand Haven behind only Boulder, Colo., out of some 185 cities nationwide.  The index, released on Monday, Feb. 15, is an average of six categories:  life evaluation, emotional health, physical health, healthy behavior, work environment and basic access to necessities.

It's the second year that Gallup-Healthways has compiled the index.  Holland-Grand Haven also did well in 2008, ranking third nationally.

The survey's geographical organization - such as citing Holland and Grand Haven together - follows the U.S. Census Bureau's definition for Metropolitan Statistical Areas.  The city areas were grouped based on population size, and include all cities with a population of greater than 20,000.

Holland-Grand Haven and the Washington, D.C.-Arlington-Alexandria metro area were the only two communities east of the Mississippi River to make the top 10.

Eight of the top 10 cities, including Boulder and Holland-Grand Haven, were classified as mid-size city regions, with populations between 250,000 and one million.  The Holland-Grand Haven cluster is in the lower range of the mid-size category with an area population of 259,206.

In descending order, the top-10 cities in the index are:  Boulder, Colo.; Holland-Grand Haven; Honolulu, Hawaii; Provo-Orem, Utah; Santa Rosa-Petaluna, Calif.; Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta, Calif.; San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.; Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C.-Va.-Md.-W.Va.; Ogden-Clearfield, Utah; and Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, Calif.

The WBI is the product of a 25-year partnership between Gallup and Healthways to measure the state of well-being and quality of life in America, to quantify and establish a correlation between the places where people work and the communities in which they live and their well-being.  The rankings are not intended to be a competition but instead to provide government policy-makers, community leaders, media agencies, employers, health plans and healthcare providers with detailed information about where communities are doing well, where they are struggling and where to best target policies and investments to assist residents to maximize their well-being.

The 42 core questions that make up the WBI survey were designed to measure how respondents are faring in all aspects of their lives:  physically, emotionally, socially and professionally, and also to take a daily pulse of how Americans rate the overall quality of their current life and outlook for the future.  The results are based on more than 353,000 surveys completed from January 2, 2009, through December 30, 2009.

The Holland-Grand Haven community's rankings among the 185 communities on the six sub-indices were:  life evaluation, second; emotional health, third; physical health, first; healthy behavior, 63rd; work environment, 39th; and basic access to necessities, first.

In addition to ranking the nation's cities, the index also ranked the 50 states and 435 Congressional Districts.  Michigan ranked 34th, up from 41st in 2008.  The 2nd Congressional District, which includes Holland and Grand Haven, ranked 114th, up from 194th a year ago.

More information is available at www.well-beingindex.com.