The Whining States of America

  • by: |
  • 05/01/2008
The Gallup-Healthways Well-being Index claims that 47 percent of all Americans are struggling.  How is that defined?

"The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index asks Americans to evaluate their lives by imagining a "ladder" with steps numbered from 0 to 10, where "0" represents the worst possible life and "10" represents the best possible life. Nationally, 49% of Americans say that they presently stand on steps 7 or higher of the ladder. When asked where they will stand about five years from now, Americans report that they expect to stand on steps 8 or higher. Gallup considers this group of Americans to be "thriving." Thriving Americans' have their basic needs (such as food and shelter) met, and they have higher incomes, are less burdened by disease, report fewer sick days, and have better work environments. While nearly half of Americans fall into this category, the percentage of citizens in the thriving group is down from 60% in 2006.

On the low end of the spectrum, 4% of U.S. residents say they presently stand on steps 0 to 4 of the ladder. When asked where they will stand five years from now, Americans in this group report that they expect to stand on steps 0 to 4 of the ladder, as well. Gallup considers this group of Americans to be "suffering." Suffering Americans report that they have less access to basic needs such as food, shelter, and healthcare. They are also more likely to be burdened by disease, report more sick days, and are more likely to be divorced or widowed."

So how does Gallup arrive at a definition of "struggling?"

"Americans that Gallup does not classify as thriving or suffering are considered to be "struggling." The percentage of U.S. residents who are struggling has increased to 47% from 37% in 2006."

Hmmm.  Has anyone  at Gallup read Goldilocks and The Three Bears?  Or is it just that Americans are and always have been a striving culture.  Or is it a function of everyone pursuing happiness?  In any event, none of it explains the comment by CDC director Julie Gerbeding who equates the state with the misleading factoid that the US health care system ranks 37th in the world/....who is writing HER speeches....

Meanwhile here is the most revealing finding of the survey:

"Americans' reported level of happiness and enjoyment peaked on Easter Sunday, March 23, with New Year's Day coming in a close second. Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 3, was also among the top 10 days that Americans reported the highest levels of happiness and enjoyment."

To me and Peter, any day the Yankees win is a great day...Looks like we will be struggling or suffering through 2008.



Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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