The State of American Well-Being in 2015: Where Does Your Community Rank?

Where are the happiest places to live — and the least happiest? (Photo: Getty Images)

The Sarasota, Florida area is more than just a sunny paradise; it’s a happy community, too. According to the new Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, the citizens of North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton have the highest well-being scores in the nation.

In addition to greater Sarasota, Urban Honolulu, Hawaii; Raleigh, North Carolina; Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, California; and El Paso, Texas round out the rest of the top five. On the flip side, Ohio carries more low well-being communities than any other state; the Midwest locale has five areas in the country’s bottom 10, including Youngstown, Toledo, Dayton, Columbus and Cincinnati.

The Gallup-Healthways data is pulled from 176,000 interviews with adults in the U.S. across all 50 states and D.C., taken from January to December of 2014. The U.S. Office of Management and Budget defines the metropolitan boundaries of the largest 100 communities, and the Well-Being Index ranks each one of them from 0 to 100.

How is a score determined, exactly? Based on these five facets of happy, healthy lifestyles:

Purpose: enjoying what you do everyday, feeling motivated to achieve your goals

Social: having supportive relationships, having love in your life

Financial: managing your money to lower stress and increase security

Community: liking your area, feeling safe, having community pride

Physical: maintaining good health, having enough energy to carry out tasks everyday

Essentially, the stats indicate which residents of which areas have well-rounded, engaging, healthy lifestyles. As a comparison, residents of high well-being communities are 12 percent more likely to learn new and interesting things, 16 percent less likely to worry about money and 25 percent less likely to get depression than members of low well-being areas.

If you’re looking to make a move, take note of the entire list below for some national perspective.

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