Taking inspiration from the British, a group this summer polled people in all 50 states to see how they felt about their own lives. Ohio scored in the middle of the pack by three clues and fared much better than most by a fourth.
The group United States Gross National Happiness commissioned the survey, which got 5,000 responses from residents of all 50 states last summer.
“The cool thing is that we asked people to rate their own lives,” said Rob Moore, president of Gross National Happiness USA and director of Columbus-based Scioto Analysis. “The goal is to push public policy beyond dollars and cents and understand what people think about their own lives.”
The survey asked the same four questions as UK Office for National Statistics asks since 2011 as part of its Measures of National Well-Being:
- Life Satisfaction – Overall, are you satisfied with your current life?
- Worthwhile — Overall, how worthwhile do you think the things you do in your life are?
- Happiness — Overall, how happy did you feel yesterday?
- Anxiety — On a scale where zero means “not at all anxious” and 10 means “completely anxious,” overall, how anxious did you feel yesterday?
In terms of life satisfaction, Delaware, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida scored the best, while Rhode Island, Washington, Oklahoma and Oregon scored the worst. . Ohio came in 33rd.
Responses for happiness and satisfaction were similar at the extremes and Ohio got 12th and 21st place respectively.
Interestingly, when it comes to anxiety, respondents from Alabama, Texas, Oklahoma and Vermont said they were the most anxious and those in North Carolina, Delaware, New Jersey and Hawaii said they were the least anxious. Ohio came in 43rd in that category — in which a low score was good.
The survey is similar to the world happiness reportwhich is done using data from the Gallup World Poll.
The most recent version of this report indicates that Finns, Danes, Icelanders and Swiss consider themselves to have the best life, while Rwandans, Zimbabwe, Lebanon and Afghanistan thought they had the worst. The United States came in 16th.
For Moore, these ratings can be an important tool in the formulation of public policies.
“Our dream is to hear quarterly global happiness numbers alongside GDP,” he said.
But how objective are people when asked if their life is good or bad?
On a global level, it is easy to see how residents of wealthy, peaceful countries might view their lives better than residents of unstable, poverty-stricken countries. But couldn’t it also be true that retirees who live in places like Florida find their lives happy and satisfying simply because they choose to live there?
Moore acknowledged that the simple fact of where one comes from can influence how that person responds when asked to assess their existence.
“There are cultural differences that affect how people evaluate their own lives,” he said. I am
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