Identifying County Characteristics Associated with Resident Well-Being: A Population Based Study

Authors: Brita RoyCarley RileyJeph HerrinErica S SpatzAnita AroraKenneth P KellJohn WelshElizabeth Y RulaHarlan M Krumholz

Background: Well-being is a positively-framed, holistic assessment of health and quality of life that is associated with longevity and better health outcomes. We aimed to identify county attributes that are independently associated with a comprehensive, multi-dimensional assessment of individual well-being.

Methods: We performed a cross-sectional study examining associations between 77 pre-specified county attributes and a multi-dimensional assessment of individual US residents’ well-being, captured by the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index. Our cohort included 338,846 survey participants, randomly sampled from 3,118 US counties or county equivalents.

Findings: We identified twelve county-level factors that were independently associated with individual well-being scores. Together, these twelve factors explained 91% of the variance in individual well-being scores, and they represent four conceptually distinct categories: demographic (% black); social and economic (child poverty, education level [<high school, high school diploma/equivalent, college degree], household income, % divorced); clinical care (% eligible women obtaining mammography, preventable hospital stays per 100,000, number of federally qualified health centers); and physical environment (% commuting by bicycle and by public transit).

Conclusions: Twelve factors across social and economic, clinical care, and physical environmental county-level factors explained the majority of variation in resident well-being.

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