Naples, Florida, is named the happiest and healthiest city in America while a town in Arkansas comes in dead last
Naples gets No. 1 spot for being home to community with best overall well-being
This is the second year in a row that Naples has received top marks in rankings
Fort Smith, Arkansas, receives the worst marks and comes in last place
Results according to new Gallup-Healthways poll about community well-being
Forget moving to Canada, Americans looking to find happiness in these turbulent times should head down south instead — to Naples, Florida, home of the happiest and healthiest community in the US, for the second year running!
Naples and its neighboring Immokalee and Marco Island have been awarded the No. 1 spot on the Gallup-Healthways State of American Well-Being 2016 Community Well-Being Rankings list, released today.
The Florida community topped the pollster's list which ranked 189 communities based on responses regarding five 'key elements of well-being' — sense of purpose, positive social relationships, financial management, community pride and physical health.
Naples once again scored highly on the overall list, because 'Naples does a lot of things right,' Dan Witters, research director of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index told TODAY. '[People in] Naples really take care of themselves well.'
'Naples had the country's highest number of residents thriving in community well-being, highest rates of healthy eating, lowest rates of daily stress and lowest lifetime diagnoses of depression,' the report stated
Never mind the good weather, beach proximity and affluence of the community, says Gallup.
Naples' top marks can be attributed to the 2015 launch of the Blue Zones Project in Southwest Florida, aimed at improving community well-being, coupled with the city's completion of a redevelopment project that added roundabouts, sidewalks and bike lanes.
Unfortunately, it's continued bad news for residents living in communities at the bottom of the list, though, with many of those communities repeatedly fairing poorly to as far as 2008, according to Gallup.
It's no surprise that toxic drinking water-bedeviled Flint, Michigan (which has been experiencing drinking water contamination issues since 2014) came in at a dismal No. 184, marking its second year in the bottom five.
But, in very last place on the list is Fort Smith, Arkansas–Oklahoma, which scored the lowest or second-lowest well-being ranking in four of the poll's five key elements: purpose, social, financial and physical.
Fort Smith, Witters noted to TODAY, has a very high smoking rate, coupled with a 'through the roof' obesity rate, clocking in at a whopping 40 percent.
Poll respondents also gave the community some of the worst marks in the country when it came to doing something interesting in their day-to-day life or having someone who encouraged them to be healthy.
'That's a really big missed opportunity,' Witters told TODAY. 'Learning and growing is a very important psychological need.'
The report also revealed how communities fared in individual categories.
Despite clocking in at No. 16 overall, El Paso, Texas residents reported feeling the highest sense of purpose out of all respondents. Meanwhile, Burlington, Vermont (No. 90) dwellers felt the least purpose.
Witters noted that No. 1 overall Naples had the most carefree residents in the country, versus Chico, California (No. 183), which claimed the most tightly-wound population.
Despite Provo-Orem, Utah (No. 18), and Boulder (No. 10) routinely faring well as places with high levels of well-being, the report found that they had the second and third-highest stress levels in the country.
Witters attributed the seeming dichotomy to the difficulty of using stress as a measurement.
'In places that have high percentages of professionals, you'll have a lot more of what's sometimes called productive stress, where people will carry out otherwise high well-being lives, but will feel the stress most days,' he told TODAY.
When it comes to safety, the report found that 90 percent of Boulder-ites felt secure where they lived, while Rockford, Illinois (No. 178) felt least safe. Respondents from major cities including New Orleans-Metairie, Louisiana (No. 103) and Las Vegas–Henderson–Paradise, Nevada (No. 94) also gave their communities low marks for safety.
All rankings were based on community-level data distilled down from more than 354,000 interviews with US adults across all 50 states, taking place between January 2, 2015 through December 30, 2016, according to Gallup.
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