Last year, when Gallup released its annual Wellbeing Index for 2017, Delaware was ranked a pretty unhealthy number 40, putting it just barely outside the bottom 10.
Last week, Gallup released the 2018 Wellbeing Index, and Delaware had rocketed to eighth place, tucked between Vermont and South Dakota.
Before 2018, Delaware had been sitting steady in the bottom 15. So, what happened?
Well, first of all, we have to acknowledge a potential flaw in the index, which is that it is based on surveys, and Delaware’s 2018 survey size was just 386. How accurate can a survey of fewer than 400 people be? The numbers are, however, proportionate: Hawaii, the number-one ranked state, had a sample size of 502, and Alaska, which came in at number three, had a sample of just 212.
With that said, the results are interesting. The Wellbeing Index rates five different elements:
- Career — “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”
Delaware is middle-of-the-pack for career (ranked 26) and community (22), but ranked all the way up at #2 in social (just behind Hawaii), #4 in financial and #10 in physical.
So, according to the 2018 surveys, Delawareans are healthy, economically stable and loved, but are only marginally proud of their communities and are kind of “meh” when it comes to work.
As a publication covering the startup and tech community, our perception of the career element is skewed (we don’t see a lot of people who are “meh” about what they do), but that actually seems like a pretty accurate assessment.
What’s really interesting is how Delaware in general differs from the other states in the top 10. The top five (Hawaii, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Utah) are either away from the mainland or out west — the kinds of places a person could go off the grid if they wanted to. That pattern tracks through the rest of the top 10, with Colorado (6), South Dakota (9) and North Dakota (10), and the eastern but relatively isolated Vermont (7).
Then there’s Delaware, smack in the middle of the Mid-Atlantic, relatively densely populated, diverse, and known more for its interstate than its beauty.
Have we really become healthier? Who knows. But they say positivity is good self-care, so we’ll take it.-30-
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