In making the case for the regular collection of national level statistics on population well-being, our National Accounts of Well-being report highlighted the interesting model provided by the Gallup-Healthways Well-being Index. This is a survey which since January 2008 has conducted 1000 interviews almost every day of the year across the United States to produce detailed well-being data on a daily basis. As a privately-sponsored survey, the full dataset is not publicly available, but a new website allows the data collected in 2008 to be explored at state- and congressional district-level .
The approach to conceptualising and measuring well-being is somewhat different to our own: while our National Accounts of Well-being were based on seven key components of personal and social well-being, the Gallup-Healthways Well-being Index is built up of six domains of well-being. There are some similarities, with two of the Gallup-Healthways domains being built on measures of emotional health and evaluations of life as a whole, mirroring our emotional well-being and satisfying life components. But, in part reflecting the healthcare industry sponsorship of the survey, the domains also expand beyond subjective well-being to measure physical health, healthy behaviour, work environment and basic needs and services. It’s a useful point of comparison to our National Accounts of Well-being, and will help frame the debate about exactly which elements of population well-being it is most useful to systematically measure. It also demonstrates the growing recognition, in the private sector as well as in government and policy circles, of the value of rigorously collected population well-being statistics.