America's happiest cities, 2014

America's happiest cities, 2014

Since 2008, Gallup and Healthways have been compiling the world's largest set of data on well-being. Every year, they rank America's states and metropolitan areas according to its Well-Being Index.

The just-released metro-area rankings for 2014 contain some surprises at the top. Although California failed to crack the top 10 among states, not one or two but three of its metro areas earned spots in the top 10 among communities. The booming tech industry certainly played a role, since the Silicon Valley and the Bay Area are two of the California metros; the third is the San Luis Obispo area, about midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco along the Pacific Coast Highway. (Click here or on a photo to see all 10.)

And the metro area that earned the highest well-being score, Provo-Orem, is in Utah -- a state that also didn't crack the top 10.

The latest Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index took into account six elements of well-being, on a scale of 0 to 100 with 100 being "ideal," as laid out on the Gallup site:

Life evaluation. Present life situation and anticipated life situation.
Emotional health. Daily feelings and mental state.
Work environment. Job satisfaction and workplace interactions.
Physical health. Physical ability to live a full life.
Healthy behavior. Engaging in behaviors that affect physical health.
Basic access. Feeling safe, satisfied and optimistic within a community.

Starting Jan. 1 of this year, data will instead support a narrowed set of five elements: purpose ("liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals"); social ("having supportive relationships and love in your life"); financial ("managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security"); community ("liking where you live, feeling safe and having pride in your community"); and physical ("having good health and enough energy to get things done daily").

About 2 million surveys have been conducted -- 500 of them every day. (Details on methodology are available on the Gallup site.)

Click here or on a photo to see the nation's 10 happiest cities -- those that score the highest on the Well-Being Index.

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