Finances and health weighed heavy on South Carolinians’ minds over the last year, but residents of the Palmetto State still take care of each other, according to the annual Gallup and Sharecare “State of American Well-Being” index released Tuesday.
In a state-by-state ranking that considers five major areas, South Carolina fell into the bottom 15 overall, dropping from 27th in 2016 to 37th in 2017 over the last year, according to a news release about the index.
Nationwide, the outlook was “bleak,” the news release said. For the first time in the 10-year history of the index, no states improved their well-being score by a statistically significant measure.
Gallup said it has surveyed more than 2.5 million people as part of the project, asking them about their lives and how they feel. Just over 160,000 of those were surveyed in 2017.
The questions were grouped into five major areas:
▪ Purpose: 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
Bright spots for South Carolinians were in the purpose category, with a rank on the index of 14th nationwide, and social, where South Carolinians rounded out the top states in 10th place.
South Carolina residents scored lowest in the financial category — 44th — and were only 41st in physical. In the community category, we were right in the middle at 25th.
When it comes to the states with the highest well-being overall, it appears cold winter weather was not a deciding factor.
“In the state rankings, South Dakota and Vermont, followed by Hawaii, were the highest well-being states in 2017,” the Gallup and Sharecare news release said. “South Dakota has ranked among the highest six states every year since 2013.”
Twenty-one states showed overall declines on the index.
“Residents of West Virginia reported the lowest levels of well-being in 2017 for the ninth consecutive year,” the news release said.
Here are some of the national trends over the last year that Gallup noted:
▪ More people said they exercised at least 30 minutes a day on three days in the previous week (up to 55 percent from 53.4 percent).
▪ More said they had visited a dentist in the last year (up to 67.1 percent from 66 percent).
▪ Slightly fewer people said they smoked (down to 17.8 percent from 18 percent), were obese (down to 28.2 percent from 28.4 percent) or had diabetes (down to 11.4 percent from 11.6 percent).
▪ Fewer people said they had a personal doctor (down to 77.2 percent from 79.1 percent), and more were uninsured (up to 11.8 percent from 10.8 percent).
▪ More people reported that they were depressed (up to 18.6 percent from 17.8 percent).