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State well-being index

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Re: State well-being index

Postby bdog » Wed Mar 06, 2013 6:30 am

Well being is largely a state of mind.

Thanks for the links Duca.
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Re: State well-being index

Postby kurt_w » Wed Mar 06, 2013 7:49 am

ArturoBandini wrote:
Stomach wrote:Boy oh boy, the bottom 10 are RED
Hmm, how 'bout that? Similarly, did you notice that the Top 10 skew WHITE? I'll let you decide which, if either, of those correlations means anything.

The answer to that would be ... they both mean something but neither means very much. It turns out that "percent voting for Obama" and "percent of population that is white" each explain about 10 percent of the variance in the well-being ranks from the OP.

So, overall, states that lean Democratic tend to have healthier and happier populations. And states that are mostly white tend to have healthier and happier populations. But neither relationship is very strong.

On the other hand, the states' poverty rates explain 40% of the variance in well-being. States with lots of poor people also tend to have lots of sick people and lots of unhappy people.

In other late-breaking news, water is still wet.
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Re: State well-being index

Postby ArturoBandini » Wed Mar 06, 2013 1:03 pm

kurt_w wrote:You might have a point, but let's just note that the #1 state on that list is by far the least-white state in the US, while the #50 state is among the most-white.
Well sure, but most of those Hawaiian non-whites are Asian/Pacific Islander, which is fairly unique when compared to demographics of other states with large non-white populations. Given Hawaii's remote location, demographics, relatively low population and unique economy, I think it's safe to think of it as an outlier for the purposes of interstate comparisons using aggregate statistics like the one being discussed here.
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Re: State well-being index

Postby ArturoBandini » Wed Mar 06, 2013 1:04 pm

kurt_w wrote:The answer to that would be ... they both mean something but neither means very much. It turns out that "percent voting for Obama" and "percent of population that is white" each explain about 10 percent of the variance in the well-being ranks from the OP.
Where are you getting these numbers? Did you compile the stats?
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Re: State well-being index

Postby kurt_w » Wed Mar 06, 2013 1:15 pm

ArturoBandini wrote:Where are you getting these numbers? Did you compile the stats?

Yes. I compared the states' ranks on "wellbeing index" to their rank on the other two variables. The correlation coefficients were very similar, and pretty low.

Poverty rate is a better explanatory factor. One could look at the sources used to compile that wellbeing index and I'd bet most of the stuff going into it relates to poverty, one way or another. But even so, poverty rate only explains 40% of the variation in the wellbeing index ranks.
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Re: State well-being index

Postby ArturoBandini » Wed Mar 06, 2013 1:37 pm

What are you using for "poverty rate"? Federal poverty level, or some state-by-state value? Any normalization for cost of living? I think that poverty is a likely culprit in broad human dissatisfaction, but I'm curious to know the details. For instance, if your income is $14k in West Virginia, you can probably squeak by, but it might be a different story in California or Connecticut.

Also, I think that relative status is important in perception of personal well-being. In absolute terms very few Americans are poor, nor are they poor expressed relative to the global mean human condition, or relative to Americans 50 years ago. But relative to a small minority of very rich Americans, we have comparatively little.
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Re: State well-being index

Postby kurt_w » Wed Mar 06, 2013 1:45 pm

I just used the ranks from the table here, which is poverty rate based on household income. You're probably right that the geographically adjusted poverty rate would be a better indicator. And I very much agree that relative status is very important, moreso than absolute standard of living (once you get above a certain basic level of sufficiency).
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Re: State well-being index

Postby rabble » Wed Mar 06, 2013 1:56 pm

kurt_w wrote:On the other hand, the states' poverty rates explain 40% of the variance in well-being. States with lots of poor people also tend to have lots of sick people and lots of unhappy people.

Yes, except for states like Hawaii where every employer must insure every employee regardless of hours worked.

Minimum wage is a little easier to take if you can get that lump on your side checked out as soon as you find it.
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Re: State well-being index

Postby ArturoBandini » Wed Mar 06, 2013 2:01 pm

kurt_w wrote:You're probably right that the geographically adjusted poverty rate would be a better indicator.
Check out the final column, Supplemental Poverty Measure, which tries to normalize based on COL. As I hypothesized, West Virginia ranks in the Top 10 for poverty rate using a federal poverty line, but ranks 32nd if you adjust for COL (i.e. less relative poverty than 31 other states).
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