Ladies and gentlemen, expect a new license plate slogan to roll out shortly; a recent ranking reveals the most livable states of the future. Congratulations, Utah -- you’re number one!
Results of the Gallup-Healthways Wellbeing index, released Tuesday (Aug. 8), ranks states based on an average of scores from "future livability" metrics, or the 13 different questions asked to a random sample of Americans to predict the future livability of their state. Among the metrics, many covered healthy living, such as accessibility of clean and safe water, availability of a safe place to work out, obesity rates and state smoking habits.
Another metric, the "Standard of Living Optimism," allotted states a better ranking when participants reported their standard of living as improving -- that they saw their life as getting better in their state in the next five years. Yet another metric, "Daily Learning," prompted survey respondents to consider whether they were learning something new and interesting each day. Measures of education, job creation, employment standards and economy were also incorporated into the rankings.
The best-ranked states were those that received the lowest score. Utah received its number-one ranking of 7.5 in part because it was among the two best-performing states for low smoking habits, accessibility of clean and safe waters and perceptions that the area is improving.
While Utah raises its figurative trophy high in the west, many southern states crowd the bottom 10 list, with West Virginia ranked as the worst state to live in. This state received the worst markings in five of the 13 livability metrics, including learning new and interesting things daily, smoking habits and accessibility of a safe place to exercise.
Gallup collected this data based on phone interviews conducted as part of Gallup Daily Tracking/The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index Survey from January 2011 through June 2012. A random sample of 531,154 adults was surveyed across all 50 states.
So, did your state make it in the top 10 best states for future livibility? Or does it need some improvement? Scroll through and let us know why you think your residence did or didn’t make the cut.
CORRECTION: A previous headline on this article incorrectly stated that the ranking is of cities, not states. It has been corrected to reflect that change.