Gallup Healthways Well-Being Index


What U.S. city has the best work environment?  How have the happiness levels of the U.S. changed through “The Great Recession”? The Gallup Healthways Well-Being Index tries to answer these questions by daily surveying 1,000 people 7-days a week.  The assessment first started on January 2, 2008, and the project’s goal is to collect data for 25 years.  Currently, there are over 5 years of data—enough to start identify and evaluate trends.  The study is a collaboration between the polling firm Gallup and the healthcare solutions company, Healthways.

The Well-Being Index is an average of six major factors:

  • Life Evaluation—how a person compares their present situation to future situation
  • Physical Health—BMI, disease, six days, physical pain, etc.
  • Emotional Health—experiences of smiling, enjoyment anger, happiness
  • Healthy Behavior—lifestyle habits including
  • Work Environment—job satisfaction, supervisor’s impact, ability to use strengths
  • Basic Access—access to food, shelter, healthcare and a place to live

The homepage presents an overview of the indexes in a stock-chart type format.

The Findings tab provides much more detailed results including descriptions of trends, demographic breakdowns, and the highest and lowest performing cities.  Much of this data was summarized after the 1 millionth survey was completed in 2010, but the link for City, State and Congressional District Well-Being Reports contains summarized data from 2012.

The site has fine-grained data not found anywhere else and contains interesting visualizations, such as this image from the 2012 Composite Report showing composite well-being data by metro area:

Gallop Healthways Map

Charts and visualizations used on the site can sometimes over-emphasize differences.  The scales changes on each chart—and sometimes skip sections (such as on the “Daily Pulse” chart).  The chart below—the Emotional Health Index—only show 3 percentage points, so it looks like we’ve made a huge jump up since 2009.

Gallop Healthways Well-Being Index

However, since these surveys are representative of the entire united states, just a 1% increase or decrease means 3.1 million people.

Numbers from the Gallup Healthways Well-Being index are used by other Gallup Reports, such as this report on the number of uninsured in the U.S., and in major news sources.  Or you could use this data to help find a new city to live in!

P.S. Lincoln Nebraska was the top city for Work Environment in 2012 (and the city with the highest overall wellbeing), and levels of emotional well-being dipped during the end of 2008 and beginning of 2009, but have risen again almost to pre-recession levels.

Guest Blogger: Kari Beets is the Graduate Research Assistant for Business at the University of Texas Libraries. She completes her MSIS program at the UT Austin School of Information in May 2014.

Sick in America Poll


The new Sick in America poll from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, NPR, and Harvard School of Public Health measures Americans’ views on costs of their medical care and the attitudes of their doctors. Interestingly, this new poll also specifically considers how sick Americans' perceptions of healthcare and provides valuable information on their experiences. It is a different perspective to ask those who have actually had a lot of medical care or who had been hospitalized overnight in the past 12 month. It is not hypothetical for these individuals. Not surprisingly, "a large majority of the general public (87%) thinks the cost of care is a serious problem for the country. In addition, about two-thirds of the general public (65%) believes the cost of care has gotten worse over the last five years." What is frightening is that "about one in ten sick Americans (11%) report being turned away by a doctor or hospital for financial or insurance reasons" in the last 12 months. Some good news is that 51% of the surveyed American who were hospitalized "are 'very satisfied' with the quality of medical care they received while they were in the hospital."

You can get the summary, see charts and slides and read the entire report on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation website.

LOHAS: Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability


LOHAS is an acronym for Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability. According to the website, the organization "focuses on educating and building community around the central theme of healthy and sustainable lifestyles for individuals and societies." Even more importantly to bizologie, they offer business resources on the growing $290B LOHAS market. LOHAS not only shares information but also provides practical tools and techniques for people to implement into their businesses. The website has tons of news and aggregates data on the industry. For example, they have info on green marketing, sustainability trends for 2012, fair trade, and green consumers.

Green Purchasing Behavior

The HUB by LOHAS is a business network for companies in the LOHAS industry to connect, collaborate and seek opportunities. They say it's like LinkedIn for LOHAS companies and organizations. You can see the online business directory of over 600 companies, but to get detailed info and to be able to connect you must become a member. Companies can apply online and have to be approved.