Boulder chalked up another national honor yesterday when the Gallup polling company announced the results of its “Healthways Well-Being Index. According to their information:
The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index score measures for each city an average of six sub-indexes, which individually examine life evaluation, emotional health, work environment, physical health, healthy behaviors, and access to basic necessities. The overall composite score and each of the six sub-indexes’ scores are calculated on a scale from 0 to 100, where 100 represents fully realized well-being.
While it lists Boulder as the winner, the actual area is the Boulder Metropolitan Statistical Area which includes all of Boulder County. With a composite score of 72.5 Boulder out paced all areas regardless of size. The study was extensive and included a sample of 353,000 adults nationwide.
The overall result calls attention to what we already know. The quality of life in the Boulder area is outstanding and the people who live here tend to be happy, employed, healthy and relatively affluent.
Here are the definitions of the areas that were examined during the poll.
The Life Evaluation Index is based on the Cantril Self-Anchoring Striving Scale, which asks people to evaluate their present and future lives on a scale with steps numbered from 0 to 10, where 0 is the worst possible life and 10 is the best possible life. Those who rate today a “7” or higher and the future an “8” or higher are considered to be “thriving.” Those who rate today and the future a “4” or lower on the scale are considered to be “suffering.” The overall Life Evaluation Index score is calculated as the percentage of thriving Americans minus the percentage of struggling Americans.
The Emotional Health Index measures daily smiling or laughter, learning or doing something interesting, being treated with respect, enjoyment, happiness, worry, sadness, anger, stress, and diagnosis of depression.
The Work Environment Index measures job satisfaction, ability to use one’s strengths at work, supervisor’s treatment (more like a boss or a partner), and the formation of a trusting work environment.
The Physical Health Index is determined by sick days in the past month, disease burden, health problems that get in the way of normal activities, obesity, feeling well-rested, daily energy, daily colds, daily flu, and daily headaches.
The Healthy Behavior Index includes four items: smoking, eating healthy, weekly consumption of fruits and vegetables, and weekly exercise frequency.
The Basic Access Indexis determined by access to clean water, medicine, a safe place to exercise, and affordable fruits and vegetables; enough money for food, shelter, healthcare; having health insurance, having a doctor, having visited a dentist recently; satisfaction with the community, the community getting better as a place to live, and feeling safe walking alone at night.
Not only is this a feel good story for our citizens it gives companies very real data why they should bring their employees to our area. We have always had a large contingent of people who choose to live in Boulder because of the “outdoor” lifestyle or previous rankings in publications such as Outside Magazine and Money Magazine. What it turns into is a big self-fulfilling prophecy which attracts the people who perpetuate the lifestyle. Not a bad cycle to be in.
For a full list of the ranked cities in the poll, click here.