OPTIMISTIC

The healthiest city in America is 75% Latino

Henry Zbyszynski/flickr

This post has been updated.

A survey from Gallup and its partner Health eVillages, a health-related technology nonprofit, has named Salinas, Calif. as the healthiest city in America. The agricultural community just a miles inland from California’s coast is 75% Latino.

The city tied with Naples, Fla., to receive the highest score on Gallup’s annual well-being survey. Salinas scored second in the survey’s “Physical” category, defined as “Having good health and enough energy to get things done daily;” third in the “Purpose” category, defined as, “Liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals,” and eighth in the “Financial” category, defined as, “Managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security.”

The data is based on a subset of 353,983 telephone interviews with U.S. adults across all 50 states and the District of Columbia, conducted from January 2, 2014 to December 30, 2015.

The Salinas data includes all of surrounding Monterrey County, which is 57% Hispanic.

In an email to Fusion, Healthways rep Susan Frankle said Salinas has the second-lowest smoking rate of the 190 communities surveyed, and were also No. 2 in feeling active and productive, and in agreeing with the statement, “your physical health is near perfect.”

And despite ranking low in terms of food security (66th) and healthcare security (48th), they scored second in terms of the satisfaction with their standard of living.

Salinas’ performance was reflective of the solid performance of other heavily Latino communities. Watsonville, Calif., which is 81% Latino, finished sixth in the overall rankings, while McAllen, Texas, which is 85% Latino, finished 11th.

“Our research shows that Hispanic communities have a much higher sense of purpose—they and score very high on the ‘purpose’ element and in terms of social wellbeing,” Frankle said. She speculated that there is a cultural bias within the U.S. Latino community toward feeling better about life.

“We see it again and again and again,” she said. “They respond much more highly to these (well-being) questions.”

The other cities rounding out this year’s survey’s top five are…

1. Salinas, Calif.
1. Naples, Fla.
3. Sarasota, Fla.
4. Fort Collins, Colo.
5. Barnstable Town, Mass.

And the bottom five:

1. Charleston, W.V.
2. Fort Smith, Ark.
3. Hickory, N.C.
4. Huntington, W.V.
5. Chico, Calif.

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