The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index tracks the well-being of U.S. residents throughout the year, interviewing no fewer than 500 U.S. adults nationwide each day, with the exception of major holidays. Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking.
Each daily sample includes a minimum quota of 150 cell phone respondents and 850 landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas among landline respondents for gender within region. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.
Samples are weighted by gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, adults in the household, cell-phone-only status, cell-phone-mostly status, and phone lines. Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2009 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older non-institutionalized population living in U.S. telephone households. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting and sample design.
With the inclusion of the cell-phone-only households and the Spanish Language interviews, 98% of the adult population is represented in the sample. By comparison, typical landline-only methodologies represent approximately 85% of the adult population.
In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.
Click here to download the formal methodology and Well-Being Index research report.
The Well-Being Index measures six domains of well-being. Each domain is determined based on scientific study of responses to the survey questions and include:
- Life Evaluation
- Emotional Health
- Physical Health
- Healthy Behavior
- Work Environment
- Basic Access
The Life Evaluation Index includes a self-evaluation of two items (present life situation and anticipated life situation five years from now) using the Cantril Self-Anchoring Striving Scale with steps from 0 to 10, where "0" represents the worst possible life and "10" represents the best possible life. Taken together, respondents are then classified as "thriving," "struggling," or "suffering," with "thriving" respondents evaluating their current state as a "7" or higher and their future state as a "8" or higher, while "suffering" respondents provide a "4" or lower to both evaluations.
Based on The Cantril Ladder Scale
|Top of the Page|
The Emotional Health Index measures respondents' daily experiences and includes:
- Smiling or laughter
- Being treated with respect
- Learning or doing something interesting
The Physical Health Index includes nine items:
- Sick days in the past month
- Disease burden
- Health problems that get in the way of normal activities
- Feeling well-rested
The Healthy Behavior Index measures lifestyle habits that have established relationships to health outcomes. The index includes four items:
- Eating healthy
- Weekly consumption of fruits and vegetables
- Weekly exercise frequency
The Work Environment Index measures Americans' perceptions of their work environment and includes four items:
- Job satisfaction
- Ability to use one's strengths at work
- Supervisor's treatment (more like a boss or a partner)
- Supervisor creates an open and trusting work environment
|Top of the Page|
The Basic Access Index measures Americans' access to necessities crucial to high well-being and includes 13 items:
- Satisfaction with community or area
- Area getting better as a place to live
- Clean water
- Safe place to exercise
- Affordable fruits and vegetables
- Feel safe walking alone at night
- Enough money for food
- Enough money for shelter
- Enough money for healthcare
- Visited a dentist recently
- Access to a doctor
- Access to health insurance
Note About Congressional Districts:
Gallup and Healthways publish congressional district data on an annual basis. Annual congressional district data encompass more than 350,000 interviews conducted as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.
There are challenges in any approach to assigning individual respondents interviewed by telephone to congressional districts, and no method is perfect. Given the fact that the underlying Well-Being Index sample is RDD rather than listed or based on registered voter lists, Gallup's approach uses available geographic information for each respondent as the basis for determining congressional district residence. Each respondent is initially assigned to a district on the basis of their phone area code and exchange, using procedures developed by Survey Sampling, Inc., which assigns each phone exchange in America to one and only one Congressional district. In situations in which a phone exchange straddles more than one congressional district, the exchange is assigned to the district in which the plurality of residents lives. Respondents whose phone exchange does not match their self-reported zip code are assigned to a congressional district based on their zip code rather than phone exchange, again assigning respondents to the district in which a plurality of residents of that zip code live. In general, accuracy in assignment of respondents to congressional districts has been maximized within the RDD methodology. Corroborating evidence is provided by the finding that median income estimates from the current survey correlate highly with census estimates across congressional districts (r=.94).