If you're looking to live in a place where people like what they do, like where they live, and make smart physical and financial choices, get thee to North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, Fla. Of the 100 most populated US metropolitan areas considered in the newly released Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, it ranked No. 1; on a possible scale of zero to 100, it scored 64.1. Completing the top 5: Urban Honolulu, Hawaii; Raleigh, NC; Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, Calif.; and El Paso, Texas. While the communities with the highest and lowest well-being weren't separated by too many points—Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Pa., brought up the rear with a score of 58.1—Gallup called out "substantial differences [that] distinguish the lowest well-being communities from the highest."
Among them: Inhabitants of the lowest-ranking communities are "68% more likely to smoke, 26% more likely to be obese, 55% less likely to like what they do each day, and 58% more likely to not feel pride in their community." When it comes to lowest-ranking areas, Ohio didn't fare so well: It has four more in the bottom 10, including Toledo, Dayton, Columbus, and Cincinnati; Knoxville and the Indianapolis metro area also made the bottom five. Gallup and Healthways have been measuring well-being since 2008, and note that the 2014 index, which resulted from 176,702 interviews carried out over the entirety of last year, provides "a more comprehensive measure of well-being" than in previous years. It considered these five "essential" elements of well-being: purpose, social, financial, community, physical. See the full report to review all the rankings. (Read more Florida stories.)