Sharecare Community Well-Being Index Findings: Biden-voting States Rank Healthier While Trump-voting States are at Bottom of Index
As someone who moved to the South in the late 90's I came to the personal conclusion that there are more unhealthy people in the South than in any other place I've lived. This was apparent to me because I never saw so many overweight people in a city, nor was I able to order a "sweet tea" until I moved to a Southern state.
I've lived in every region of the US and have been to almost every state of the union, so again, my thoughts were based on my personal experience and what my eyes could see.
After reading Sharecare's Community Well-Being Index I realize that perhaps my observation is a bit skewed. It's not necessarily the South that is unhealthy, but republican leaning states happen to be more unhealthy.
Sharecare's new research reveals that community well-being improved in certain respects in 2020, but significant differences remain across states based on factors such as individual life experiences, availability of key community resources, and political beliefs.
I grew up in Hawaii, which ranks number two as a healthy state. I lived in Washington state, which is also in the top 10 at number eight. I lived in Oklahoma, which is in the bottom 10 at number 45. I now live in Florida, which moved from #18 in 2019 to #24 in 2020 on the Community Well-Being Index.
Florida has always been known as a purple state in my lifetime. Florida can swing either way and it went for Trump in the 2020 election.
It should be no surprise that there is a correlation between Florida leaning toward Trump and Florida falling 6 levels in ranking as a "state of well-being." Many non-voters came out to vote for the first time in their lives in support of Trump. Many of those non-voters live in extremely red Florida counties.
According to the Niche article 2021 Healthiest Places to Live in Florida, the top 10 places are:
- Fort Lauderdale
- St. Petersburg
- Pompano Beach
- West Palm Beach
In the 2020 election Trump only won Clearwater, Florida in the list of healthiest places to live in Florida.
Strangely enough, there was only one state that was in the top 10 in the community well-being index that voted for Trump. There was only one state that was in the bottom 10 that voted for President Biden.
According to the Sharecare report:
Prior Community Well-Being Index findings indicate a connection between counties that leaned more Republican in the 2016 U.S. presidential election than in 2012 and worsening well-being. Conversely, counties that voted more strongly for the Democratic candidate in the 2016 U.S. presidential election revealed improved levels of life satisfaction, future optimism, and experiencing positive daily emotions. For 2020, we note similar trends, including strong relationships between the percentage who voted for the Republican candidate at the state level and low Index scores.
To arrive at these results, Sharecare and BUSPH Biostatistics & Epidemiology Data Analytics Center conducted web and mail surveys with 453,705 U.S. residents aged 18 and older across 2020 and analyzed social determinants of health data from more than 600 sources. Results are nationally representative.