It goes without saying that your quality of life largely depends on factors such as genetics, diet, physical activity, habits, and access to health care. But did you know that your geographical location also has a hand in how healthy and happy you are as an individual? In this article, we’ll be exploring all the different ways our health, happiness, and overall well-being are affected by one single factor: the place where we live.
Our personal health and well-being are particularly influenced by social determinants of health. According to public health experts, some of the socio-economic factors that have the most powerful impact on our health, happiness, and well-being include everything from education and housing quality to employment opportunities to access to healthy and nutritious foods, along with environmental factors such as air and water quality.
According to the Economic Innovation Group (EIG), more than 52 million Americans (around 17% of the population in the U.S.) experience limited opportunities in terms of employment, education, and proper housing, all of which are crucial for the preservation of health and well-being. And while some states such as North Dakota have experienced economic growth and an increase of 20% in employment rates from 2010 to 2013, places such as Alabama have seen only a fraction of this growth in employment (4%) during that same period. The poor economic reality resulted in higher economic distress in countries such as Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and West Virginia. In contrast, individuals living in more prosperous zip codes such as Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Minnesota enjoy better economic environments, thus experiencing a higher quality of life which is linked to higher levels of happiness.
How economically distressed a place also has an impact on the individuals’ mental health and overall life expectancy. After studying the impact of the economic environment on health and vitality of the U.S. communities, EIG analysts have concluded that living in a distressed zip code can actually lead to a shorter life expectancy compared to living in a place with a more prosperous economic environment. They’ve also found that distressed communities are the ones that are the most disconnected.
Moreover, individuals living in distressed zip codes were more likely to suffer from substance and mental abuse, with deaths as a result of such abuse being 64% higher than in prosperous counties. Data has also shown that the health outcomes worsen the more distressed a county is in terms of economy, which is reflected in the quality of life, chronic conditions, health behaviors, mortality, and clinical care. Distressed counties also tend to have fewer primary care providers, fewer resources for good health, as well as limited access to healthy food options.
While climate preferences are quite personal and subjective, an individual has to look at this factor objectively and consider the criteria that make up the best weather, such as dry weather with comfortable temperatures and not too much rain and sunshine for more than half of the year (at least).
Based on this criteria, Arizona ranks among the top four U.S. states with the best weather, right after California, Hawaii, and Texas, with places such as Scottsdale being particularly convenient in terms of climate which opens doors for a number of outdoor leisure activities. If you love the sun and spending time outdoors, finding a trustworthy real estate agent in Scottsdale AZ is a logical next step for getting closer to your new home, whether you’re a first-time homebuyer, a real estate investor, or a dream home shopper. Something as simple as relocating to a place with a comfortable climate can do wonders for your health and psychological sense of well-being, thus increasing your life satisfaction overall.
With global eco-consciousness on the rise, more individuals are realizing the impact of the environment on our overall health, happiness, and sense of well-being. The way we feel and the way we evaluate our lives is heavily influenced by the environmental quality of the place we live in, and this includes a number of environmental factors, including water quality (surface and ground), outdoor air quality, exposure to hazardous wastes and toxic substances in the air, water, food, and soil, the presence of natural disasters, the built environment (homes and communities), surveillance and infrastructure, as well as climate change and global environmental health.
All of these factors determine the overall perception of an individual’s health and happiness, and they have an even greater impact on individuals with existing health issues and whose health status is at risk. When it comes to sustainable living, climate-consciousness, and eco-friendliness on a global scale, Denmark, Switzerland, and Luxembourg are among the top performers, with the highest Environmental Performance Index (EPI) score being 82.5.
When it comes to your personal health, happiness, and well-being, where you live matters. We all want to live a happy and healthy life, and understanding how the place where we live impacts our quality of life is the first step towards making sure that we are not only surviving but also thriving.