Gross Domestic Happiness

Yesterday we talked about the Well-Being Index at the beginning of class. This is just a roundup of what we spoke about and links for data sources if you want to examine this issue some more.

We started off looking at the Well-Being Index for the entire US. This survey is run by Gallup and Healthways and they describe it in the following way:

Administered by Gallup to 1,000 individuals daily across the U.S., the Community Well-Being Index Survey is designed to assess well-being in a civic environment, such as a city, state or region.

With the goal of providing the world’s most up-to-date measure of individual and collective health and well-being, the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index tracks the well-being of U.S. residents 350 days out of the year interviewing no fewer than 1,000 U.S. adults nationwide each day. [link]

Here it is for the entire country, by state.

us_wellbeingGallup-Healthways also run it in each Congressional District and we also looked at Well-Being Indices for the Bay Area. And we can see that Districts 12 and 14 (San Francisco and the cities south of it) are in the top 20% of the US, in terms of well-being. In fact, District 14 is the highest ranked in the US in terms of the Index.


The Index is comprised of several different components, which can be seen below. These are the latest numbers, with percent changes from the previous Index numbers, gathered a month or so earlier.


The second part had to do with using the Well-Being Index in creative ways. I found (via the NYT‘s Economix blog) a very interesting analysis of the Index versus different state characteristics:

Richard Florida, author of “The Rise of the Creative Class” and a professor at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, has examined some other possible explanations for what makes states happy. [link]

Professor Florida looks at various correlations between the Well Being Index and other variables such as Human Capital (i.e., education), the Creatives, the “Super-Creatives”, the Bohemians, the Foreign-Born and many, many more. You can go to his website to see them all. Below is Well Being versus Super-Creatives:


And Well-Being versus the Gay Index:

gayindexBut that’s not all he looks at. Yesterday, he updated his website with information on what makes states unhappy. As it turns out, there’s a negative correlation between well-being and the working class.


There are more analyses and correlations on the state unhappiness write-up. I’d encourage you to go there, as well as the state happiness write-up, and the Gallup-Healthways website. Enjoy.

Be Sociable, Share!

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed! You can also follow me on Twitter here.

Leave a Reply