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.

bayarea_wellbeing

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.

us_wellbeing_breakup

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:

supercreatives

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.

workingclass

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