Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Record 21 states see decline in well-being in 2017

For for the first time in the nine years The Gallup Organization and Sharecare have been tracking changes in Americans' well-being, no state saw any statistically significant improvement over the past year. People in 21 states, mostly in the South and West, saw their well-being scores drop by a statistically significant margin from 2017. That broke the previous record set in 2009 during the Great Recession, when well-being in 15 states declined.

Nevertheless, Americans said they were more confident about the economy and believed the job market was better in 2017 than they did in 2009, Dan Witters reports for Gallup.

The data is based on more than 160,000 interviews with U.S. adults in all 12 months of 2017. The Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index is a mean score comprised of metrics that measure five elements of well-being:
  • 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
  • Physical: having good health and enough energy to get things done daily
Many states showed declines in metrics concerning purpose, social well-being, and mental health, such as increased worrying, little interest or pleasure in doing things, not liking what they do each day, more clinical depression diagnoses, more daily physical pain, less "positive energy" received from friends and family, less encouragement from others to be healthy, fewer people who have a leader in their life who makes them "enthusiastic about the future," fewer people reaching their goals, and less satisfaction with their standard of living, Witters reports.

The states that saw declines in well-being in 2017 and mostly in the South and West, including states that have had historically high well-being scores. West Virginia had the lowest well-being score in the nation, a spot it has held for nine consecutive years. South Dakota and Vermont, which have both been high-ranked in years past, tied for the best well-being scores.

Employers should care about this because workers with higher well-being scores are much better performers, are likely to have fewer unplanned absences, and use less health care than workers with lower well-being scores. They're also more likely to stay at the same job, file fewer worker compensation claims, and are more resilient in the face of challenges like lay-offs or natural disasters.

Community leaders should care because drops in well-being "increase the liability in each of these areas for the states that suffer them and should command the attention of their leaders, as weakening well-being can result in slowing the pace of an otherwise improving economy," Witter reports.

No comments: