The 10 Happiest And Healthiest Cities In America

Gallup recently came out with the results of its annual wellbeing index, and today takes a closer look at the metropolitan areas that ranked highest on its scale.

The index ranks wellbeing by averaging scores in six categories: Life evaluation, emotional health, work environment, physical health, healthy behaviours, and access to basic necessities. 

Lincoln, Nebraska topped this year’s list, jumping 20 spots from 2011. The city fared particularly well in terms of basic access to necessities and job satisfaction.

#10 San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles, CA

Overall score: 71.2/100

The metro area jumped 47 spots on this year's index. It scored 7th on emotional health and 4th on healthy behaviour, which looks at lifestyle habits such as smoking, exercise frequency, diet, and consumption of fruits and vegetables.

Results are based on phone interviews with a random sample of 353,563 adults in the U.S. Metro areas are based on the Metropolitan Statistical Areas defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.

Source: Gallup Well-Being Index

#9 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC, MD, VA

Overall score: 71.3/100

The area moved up three spots in 2012. It jumped 53 spots to #41 on the work environment index, which measures participants' perception on their work experience including job satisfaction, treatment, and office environment and interactions.

Results are based on phone interviews with a random sample of 353,563 adults in the U.S. Metro areas are based on the Metropolitan Statistical Areas defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.

Source: Gallup Well-Being Index

#8 Ann Arbor, MI

Overall score: 71.4/100

Ann Arbor dropped five spots, from #3 in 2011. For the second year in a row, its residents topped the index for life evaluation, a self-evaluation of one's current personal wellbeing and expected wellbeing in five years.

Results are based on phone interviews with a random sample of 353,563 adults in the U.S. Metro areas are based on the Metropolitan Statistical Areas defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.

Source: Gallup Well-Being Index

#7 Honolulu, HI

Overall score: 71.5/100

Honolulu dropped one spot this year. It held onto the top spot in terms of emotional health, which measures participants' daily experiences of smiling, happiness, laughing, sadness, anger, stress, and worry, and jumped 132 spots on the work environment index.

Results are based on phone interviews with a random sample of 353,563 adults in the U.S. Metro areas are based on the Metropolitan Statistical Areas defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.

Source: Gallup Well-Being Index

#6 Barnstable Town, MA

Overall score: 71.5/100

Barnstable Town ranked 11th in 2011. This year it came in second in terms of work evaluation, which looks at participants' perception on their work experience including job satisfaction, treatment, and office environment and interactions, but 86th in life evaluation.

Results are based on phone interviews with a random sample of 353,563 adults in the U.S. Metro areas are based on the Metropolitan Statistical Areas defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.

Source: Gallup Well-Being Index

#5 Fort Collins-Loveland, CO

Overall score: 71.6/100

The metro area jumped four places, from #9 in 2011. It dropped 42 places in terms of physical health, in which it ranked first in 2011.

Results are based on phone interviews with a random sample of 353,563 adults in the U.S. Metro areas are based on the Metropolitan Statistical Areas defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.

Source: Gallup Well-Being Index

#4 Provo-Orem, UT

Overall score: 71.7/100

The Provo-Orem area remained in fourth place for the second year in a row. It fared best in the category of life evaluation, a self-evaluation of one's current personal wellbeing and expected wellbeing in five years.

Results are based on phone interviews with a random sample of 353,563 adults in the U.S. Metro areas are based on the Metropolitan Statistical Areas defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.

Source: Gallup Well-Being Index

#3 Burlington-South Burlington, VT

Overall score: 72.4/100

Burlington moved 30 spots, from #33 in 2011. The metro area ranked second in both life evaluation -- a self-evaluation of one's current personal wellbeing and expected wellbeing in five years -- and physical health.

Results are based on phone interviews with a random sample of 353,563 adults in the U.S. Metro areas are based on the Metropolitan Statistical Areas defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.

Source: Gallup Well-Being Index

#2 Boulder, CO

Overall score: 72.7/100

Boulder jumped from fifth to second place in this year's index. The city ranked third in terms of healthy behaviour, which measures lifestyle habits like smoking, exercise frequency, diet, and consumption of fruits and vegetables.

Results are based on phone interviews with a random sample of 353,563 adults in the U.S. Metro areas are based on the Metropolitan Statistical Areas defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.

Source: Gallup Well-Being Index

#1 Lincoln, NE

Overall score: 72.8/100

Lincoln jumped 20 spots on the overall index between 2011 and 2012. The city ranked third in terms of basic access to necessities like medicine, affordable healthy food, and health insurance, and first in terms of work experience.

Results are based on phone interviews with a random sample of 353,563 adults in the U.S. Metro areas are based on the Metropolitan Statistical Areas defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.

Source: Gallup Well-Being Index

Which states have the happiest residents?

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