Florida Surpasses Other Southern States in Overall Well-Being


  • Florida is the only Southern state to make it in the top 20 
  • Southern states represent six of the bottom 10 positions for overall well-being 

Residents of Florida have a greater sense of well-being than people living in any other Southern state, according to data collected in 2018 as a part of the Sharecare Well-Being Index. Ranking 20th for overall well-being, Florida’s position in the 2nd quintile reflects a continued juxtaposition between Florida and its Southern neighbors. 

“While the U.S. Census Bureau recognizes Florida as being geographically located in the South, Florida is incredibly diverse, which is reflected in this year’s metro area well-being rankings where Florida communities span from 1st in the country to less than 15 slots from the bottom,” says Elizabeth Colyer, SVP of Business Intelligence. 

“While communities located on the gulf and in Northern Florida exhibit many of the same well-being paradigms as Florida’s southern neighbors, communities located in South and Central Florida consistently outperform their Northern counterparts,” Colyer adds, noting that this drives up Florida’s rankings through an area characterized by well-being resilience.”  

Florida ranks highly in social well-being

While Florida still ranks far above most Southern states in 2018, this year’s ranking represents a decline from 2017, where Florida ranked 12th for overall well-being.

Florida is also the only Southern state to score a top 10 position across any of the five elements of well-being:

  • 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

Florida fell from 4th in the purpose domain in 2017 to 13th in 2018. The Sunshine State, however, maintained its position in the top quintile for the social well-being domain, ranking 5th nationally. 

Within the social well-being domain, almost 75% of Florida residents agree with the statement: “Your friends and family give you positive energy every day.” Similarly, 75% of Florida residents agree with the statement: “Someone in your life always encourages you to be healthy.” 

Florida’s high ranking for social well-being can in part be attributed to their top metro-area scores, with Naples residents scoring highest for social well-being. Three other Florida metro areas, including Fort Myers, Sarasota, and Miami, also rank in the top 20 metro areas nationally, reinforcing overall and social well-being resilience in Florida’s southern communities.  

Low social support tied to worse health outcomes

Overall, mounting evidence suggests that communities which foster social support—feeling included, cared for and valued—ultimately have residents with better health and well-being outcomes. 

Approximately 162,000 deaths in the United States in 2000 were attributable to low social support, according to a 2011 meta-analysis published in the American Journal of Public Health. After reviewing a total of 47 existing studies, researchers found that the number of deaths resulting from social factors in the United States are comparable to the number of those associated with physiological disease and injury (Galea et al., 2011).

“Social well-being, including networks of family and friends who promote positivity and health, has been linked to health outcomes across everything from condition burden to mortality risk,” Colyer says. “This association reinforces the importance of having supportive relationships and love in our lives. Our findings paint a brighter picture for how Florida’s residents, particularly those living in Florida’s southern and central communities, perceive and experience their day-to-day interactions with friends, family, and significant others.”


Beginning in January 2018, Gallup surveyed U.S. adults aged 18 and older living in all 50 states and the District of Columbia using a dual mail and web-based methodology. Gallup sampled individuals using an address-based sampling (ABS) frame, which was a representative list of all U.S. households. In their survey invitation, sample members were provided with a mail survey and a link and a unique access code if they would prefer to complete the survey online. Gallup purchased samples for this study from Survey Sampling International. Gallup chose respondents at random within each household based on which member had the next birthday. Gallup included Spanish-language surveys and related materials for households that had a high likelihood of including a Spanish language speaker, based on U.S. Census records.

Gallup surveyed approximately 10,000 U.S. adults aged 18 and older each month. More than 2.6 million surveys were conducted after it began in 2008.Learn more about how the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index works.