Americans’ Well-Being Climbs to 19-Month High, According to New Data

March 2012 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index Shows Improvements in Physical Health, Work Environment and Healthy Behaviors

The overall well-being of Americans climbed to 66.8 in March, a 19-month high and an increase of 0.4 points from February’s score, as measured by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index (WBI). This improvement in well-being was driven by positive movement in the Physical Health, Work Environment and Healthy Behaviors Indices.

“This month’s WBI results are promising, and they reiterate that the overall well-being of the nation is heavily influenced by many factors, including physical, financial and social well-being,” said Ben Leedle, Jr., Healthways president and CEO. “It’s important that business and government leaders understand the correlations among all of these areas as they continue on the quest to improve the quality of life for Americans, while improving productivity and lowering healthcare costs.”The WBI Work Environment Index, which measures workers’ job satisfaction among other items, jumped to 48.5, its highest point since May 2010. The Basic Access Index, which measures consumer access to basic necessities, rose to 82.0, matching its highest point since June 2011. The uptick in the Basic Access Index was driven in part by an increase in the percentage of Americans stating that their city or area was “getting better” (57.4 percent).

Other findings:

  • The Healthy Behavior Index, measuring lifestyle habits, improved to 64.5, a jump of 0.6 points from February. The recent trend showing more Americans exercising 30 minutes at least three days a week (53.3 percent) continued to have a favorable impact.
  • The Life Evaluation Index, measuring how Americans rate their current life and anticipated future life situations, was 49.9, an increase of 0.3 points from February. This improvement was driven by an increase in the percentage of Americans who were thriving, which rose from 53.0 in February to 53.3 in March.
  • The Emotional Health Index, a composite of Americans’ daily experiences, remained relatively stable at 79.4 vs. 79.2 in February.
  • The Physical Health Index, which analyzes the nation’s physical health, essentially remained flat with a score of 76.7 vs. 76.5 in February. The percentage of Americans with daily colds declined to 6.4 percent from 9.4 percent. However, fewer Americans said they “felt well-rested yesterday,” dropping to 69.4 percent in March.

To download the full March report, click here.

For more on the science and methodology behind the WBI, please visit