It may not be the hippest metro region in the nation, but the Washington area scores first in Gallup's Well-Being Index, in part because of the shockingly low amount of stress felt in the city most know for it's political division and shouting.
In the latest Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, the region that stretches through parts of Maryland, Virginia, and even West Virginia, also found that those who live there are healthy, love to learn, and are energetic. Other winners included Boulder, Colo., as top mid-sized city, Burlington, Vt. as the top small city and Hawaii as the top state.
Gallup looks at a mix of issues to come up with its index including: life evaluation, emotional health, physical health, healthy behavior, work environment, and basic access. While Washington did not win many of the categories in those topic areas, the area scored enough to take top honors in among one million-plus residents category. Below are some of the specifics of the Washington metro region that were notable to Gallup officials:
1. Washington has the second highest percentage of "thriving" residents (61.0 percent) and best in the nation in fewest "suffering" residents (1.6 percent) in life evaluation.
2. It is 6th in the nation in "learned something new or interesting yesterday" (67.8 percent), a key vanguard to high well-being cities.
3. Residents rank 6th in the nation in percentages without "stress a lot of the day yesterday" (61.6 percent), which is unusual in a high-income place like D.C.
4. It's tops in the nation in the percentage of residents that have never been diagnosed with clinical depression (85.9 percent).
5. The region is 5th in the nation in "having enough energy to get all the things done that people their age can normally do" (87.5 percent). This is a good surrogate of productivity.
6. It's tied for 6th in "health not keeping you from doing your usual activities" (77.4 percent), a good surrogate for sick days.
7. The area is 7th in obesity at just 21.7 percent, and, closely linked, is tied for 6th in diabetes (9.1 percent).
8. It's 5th in the nation in asthma, at just 9.6 percent.
9. It is 6th in recurring physical pain in the neck and back at 27.1 percent.
10. The area is 5th in the nation in non-smokers (84.4 percent), compared to 79.4 percent nationwide.
11. The region is 4th in the nation for being able to afford food at all times in the last 12 months (86.1 percent).
12. It's 4th in the nation for being able to afford healthcare and medicine at all times in the last 12 months (85.8 percent).
13. It is 8th in the nation in getting to the dentist at least once per year (71.6 percent).