What makes a community one of the happiest and healthiest places to live in the United States? That’s easy: the overall well-being of the community. Overall well-being, according to Time Magazine, has to do with your physical, social, financial and community health. It turns out it also has a lot to do with enjoying what you do for a living, learning new things and a beautiful natural environment.
Dan Withers, lead researcher for GallupShare Well Being Index concluded that, “If you’re using your strengths every day, it lends a real buoyancy to everything else.” Gallup designed a study, led by Withers, that measures the overall well-being of residents and communities. Many different factors, from vacation time to the frequency of dental checkups, can apparently predict your level of health and happiness.
Communities with the lowest overall well-being scores were mostly located in the Midwestern and Southern United States. Communities with low well-being scores tended to be in rural areas that didn’t have easy access to parks, health care or gyms. They also didn’t have easy access to fresh seasonal produce.
The places with the highest overall well-being had these three main things in common: They’re all located in beautiful environments, have low unemployment rates, and the residents spend more time engaging in the community. Higher community engagement is one of the best predictors of health and happiness.
Engaging in your community can be as simple as choosing to walk to work or buying from local businesses instead of big corporate companies. Towns and cities where residents spend more money locally reported better overall well-being.
So who are the happiest, healthiest Americans? Read on to find out more about the towns and cities that made the healthiest places to live in the United States list.
1.) Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, Florida
Also called Paradise Coast, Naples Immokalee Marco Island is a natural gem on the southwest coast of Florida. With beautiful white sand beaches, turquoise water, islands to explore and a thriving downtown scene, it’s no wonder it took the top spot of healthiest places to live in the U.S. While living near the beach doesn’t guarantee health and happiness, it definitely seems to help!
The metropolitan area surrounding Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island is also one of the wealthiest in America. With a population of 357,305, a 4.9% unemployment rate and a median home cost of $327,100, the locals here seem to be living their best lives. Job growth is also the highest in the country. Residents of Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island also tend to shop local. Supporting their local businesses seems to have a big impact on the community’s overall well-being.