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Report: Charlottesville Among Happiest Cities in the USA

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Mural in the Belmont neighborhood of Charlottesville Mural in the Belmont neighborhood of Charlottesville
Richard Montoya Richard Montoya
Dr. Denise Bonds Dr. Denise Bonds
Charlottesville's historic Downtown Mall Charlottesville's historic Downtown Mall
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

A new report says Charlottesville is one of the healthiest and happiest cities in the U.S.

The city ranks fifth out of nearly 200 communities in a new report on the State of American Well-Being.

“It's just thriving. I really enjoy living here,” said Richard Montoya, the artist behind a mural in the Belmont neighborhood that bares the message, ‘I Love Charlottesville A Lot.’

Montoya says he has lived in Charlottesville for 30 years, and he credits the city's arts and culture scene with making it a place he loves a lot.

The Gallup-Health index looked at five elements of well-being: purpose, social, financial, community, and physical.

Charlottesville ranks highest in social and physical well-being.

According to the report, 89 percent of Charlottesvillians surveyed report significant enjoyment on any given day. Also, 74- percent report being active and productive every day.

Charlottesville ranks third best in the nation for people who say they have someone in their lives who encourages them to be healthy.

“We have great access to local, healthy foods. We have a really great environment for getting out,” said Thomas Jefferson Health District Director Dr. Denise Bonds.

Bonds says there is room for improvement, though

“Charlottesville still has a very high number of individuals that live below the poverty line, and we need to make sure we're raising the well-being of all our citizens in the community,” she said.

Charlottesville ranks fifth behind Honolulu, Santa Cruz, Barnstable, Massachusetts. Naples, Florida takes the top spot on the list.

Fort Smith, Arkansas falls at the bottom of the well-being rankings.

Lynchburg is the only other community in Virginia to crack the top ten list at number eight.

More info on Charlottesville from the study:

  • 7th in nation in percentage of respondents who report significant enjoyment on any given day (89 percent)
  • 14th lowest in nation in percentage of respondents who report being diagnosed with diabetes in their lifetime (8.4 percent)
  • 5th best in nation in percentage of respondents who report being “active and productive every day” (74 percent)
  • 4th best in nation in percentage of respondents who report that “a doctor would say you do a great job of managing your health” (71 percent)
  • 21st in nation in percentage of respondents who report eating healthy on any given day (69 percent)
  • 4th highest in nation in percentage of respondents who report eating 5+ servings of produce 4+ days per week (64 percent)
  • 28th lowest in nation in obesity (via self-report height and weight - 23.9 percent)
  • 10th highest in nation in percentage of respondents who report city or area where they live is “perfect” for them (76 percent)
  • 10th best in nation in percentage of respondents who report always feeling safe and secure (87 percent)
  • 2nd highest in nation in percentage of respondents who report receiving recognition in last 12 months for helping to improve their city/area (25.9 percent)
  • 13th lowest in nation in percentage of respondents who report at least one time in last 12 months where they did not have enough money for food (10 percent)
  • 7th highest in nation in percentage of respondents who report that they are satisfied with their standard of living (83 percent)
  • 4th highest in nation in percentage of respondents who report that their relationship with their spouse, partner, or closest friend is “stronger than ever” (82 percent)
  • 3rd best in nation in percentage of respondents who report “someone in your life encourages you to be healthy” (82.5 percent)
  • 4th best in nation in percentage of respondents who report that they “get to use your strengths to do what you do best every day” (75 percent)
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