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Which Americans Are Most Optimistic About Where They Live?

rustejunk, Flickr

Although most Americans generally like where they live, a new Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index revealed that while residents of some metro areas are highly optimistic about the direction their communities are taking, others are largely discouraged about theirs.

Interviews with more than 350,000 adults in 190 metro areas last year found that 76 percent of the people in Provo-Orem, Utah say they are optimistic about their city’s future, giving that region the top spot on the “community satisfaction” list. On the flipside, only 27.8 percent of Binghamton, N.Y. residents say the same, putting it at the bottom of the rankings.

Analysts aren’t entirely sure what factors people use to determine community satisfaction. For example, while Provo-Orem enjoys a below-average unemployment rate of 5.3 percent, McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Tex., which is also in the top 10, has an above-average unemployment rate of 11.2 percent, not to mention the highest obesity rate in the country.

In addition, only three of the metro areas in the top 10 for community satisfaction — Provo-Orem, Raleigh-Cary, N.C., and Des Moines-West Des Moines, Iowa — also rank among the top 10 for overall city satisfaction, leading pollsters to believe residents in the most optimistic metro areas aren’t always the most satisfied about living there.

Here are the top five US metro areas for community satisfaction (see the full list for the rest):

1. Provo-Orem, Utah — 76 percent
2. Lafayette, La. — 75.8 percent
3. Raleigh-Cary, N.C. — 74.9 percent
4. Huntsville, Ala. — 74.3 percent
5. Greenville-Mauldin-Easley, S.C. — 74.2 percent

And here are the bottom five:

1. Binghamton, N.Y. — 27.8 percent
2. Flint, Mich. — 34.1 percent
3. Rockford, Ill. — 36.5 percent
4. Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Pa. — 39.7 percent
5. Syracuse, N.Y. — 40.4 percent


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