Ron Shawgo, writing for the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, reports that Indiana ranks low on the latest well-being index. My working theory is that Hoosiers are inherently mistrustful of joy. If some part of life brings happiness, it’s suspect.
Once again, Indiana ranks near the bottom in the annual Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, a state-by-state survey of ourselves and surroundings. If there’s any good news it’s that Indiana rose two notches to 46th place.
. . .
Using measures of purpose, social interaction, financial security, community pride and health, the index attempts to help communities and businesses make decisions on health care and job productivity. If you feel good about yourself, have pride in your community, have supportive relationships and believe your life has purpose, then you are likely a healthy, productive person. The measures intertwine.
Indiana consistently has been in the bottom 10 in the index. Its highest ranking was 38th in 2011.
The criteria (and Indiana’s rank) are:
PURPOSE (39): Liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals
SOCIAL (41): Having supportive relationships and love in your life
FINANCIAL (33): Managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security.
COMMUNITY (44): Liking where you live, feeling safe and having pride in your community
PHYSICAL (46): Having good health and enough energy to get things done daily.
It doesn’t surprise me that, even though it isn’t great, Indiana performs best on the financial category. We allow ourselves to prioritize working for money. Observing the attitudes of Hoosiers over the years, I suspect many of our citizens view the other stuff as, on some level, frivolous. Certainly not something we support the government spending money on.
Hawaii, Alaska, Montana, Colorado, and Wyoming end up with the best scores while Indiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and West Virginia make up the bottom five.