American Human Development Project study measures health, wealth and education.
November 11, 2010
We're number 1! In well-being, that is.
Connecticut is at the top of the list of well-being in the U.S., beating out Massachusetts and New York. So says a study from the American Human Development Project. The project is part of the New York-based Social Science Research Council.
Based on official government data, the list is decided by three factors — health, education and income. It turns out the Land of Steady Habits scores well on all three. We're third in education, fourth in earnings and fifth in education. Across the board, we score at the top.
At the bottom of the list is West Virginia. Sarah Burd-Sharps, co-director of the American Human Development Project, offers an example of the gap in well-being between ranking at the top of the list and at the bottom of it: A baby born in Connecticut today has a life expectancy of 5 years more than a baby born in West Virginia.
"That's a huge difference, and it's in the same country," she says. "Connecticut has invested in people, by having conditions and giving them the circumstances to enable them to make healthy choices in life."
Connecticut's high score is in stark contrast to its ranking in a study published in the journal Science last year. In that study, Connecticut was listed as the second unhappiest state in the union; New York the most unhappy. Oddly, Louisiana was the happiest state according to the Science study; in the American Human Development Project study, it's listed at 47th in well-being.
Burd-Sharps notes that the measurement of happiness and well-being are two very different things.
"There's a huge difference in the work we're doing that what's done with the happiness index," she says. "This work we're doing has objective measures of well being. Life satisfaction, it really matters, but it sometimes yields some counterintuitive results."
Here's the full list:
3 DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
4 NEW JERSEY
6 NEW YORK
8 NEW HAMPSHIRE
11 RHODE ISLAND
29 NORTH DAKOTA
33 SOUTH DAKOTA
40 NORTH CAROLINA
41 NEW MEXICO
43 SOUTH CAROLINA
51 WEST VIRGINIA
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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