Mon, May 20, 2024

Simon Says: Wellbeing check in GA and SC

South Carolina ranks 13th and Georgia 14th for wellbeing across all 50 states according to new research by David Blanchflower and Alex Bryson. Hawaii ranks number 1 followed by a slew of upper midwestern states including Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Iowa.

Blanchflower and Bryson use eight measures of well-being from 2008 through 2017. Four measure positive elements of well-being and four measure negative elements of well-being.

The first positive element asked about 2 million participants in a poll to indicate where they are on a scale of ten (10 being the best) in terms of their best possible life. Both South Carolina and Georgia residents report 6.9. The next three questions ask whether participants experienced certain feelings (enjoyment, smile or laugh, well rested) yesterday. Answers are simply yes or no. In both South Carolina and Georgia, 85 percent reported enjoyment and 82 percent smiling or laughing a lot. In South Carolina, 72 percent felt well rested, slightly higher than the 71 percent in Georgia.

The negative elements of wellbeing asked participants if they felt physical pain, sadness, worry, or anger a lot in the previous day. In South Carolina, 26 percent reported physical pain, 30 percent worry, 18 percent sadness, and 14 percent anger.  In Georgia, 23 percent reported physical pain, 30 percent worry, 17 percent sadness, and 14 percent anger.

South Carolina ranks higher than Georgia overall and if only considering positive elements of well-being. Georgia ranks higher (fewer people report negative feelings) than South Carolina, if only considering negative elements of well-being. As the authors caution, we should consider both negative and positive elements of well-being to provide the best picture.

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