A recent Gallup Poll puts residents of Hawaii, Utah and South Dakota at the top of the list for flourishing in the US.

At the bottom of the list?  Residents of Maine and West Virginia were least likely to be flourishing.

Well, technically Gallup is using the term ‘Thriving‘.

In the upper end of the spectrum, States had around 60% of their residents thriving.  On the lower end it was estimated at only around 40%.  A pretty big gap!

But what does that mean?  How are they measuring that?  There are lots of studies on Affective Forecasting and Happiness Economics.

Gallup defines ‘Thriving’ using the Cantril Scale, a self rating system.  The survey asks you to

Please imagine a ladder with steps numbered from zero at the bottom to 10 at the top.

The top of the ladder represents the best possible life for you and the bottom of the ladder represents the worst possible life for you.

On which step of the ladder would you say you personally feel you stand at this time? (ladder-present)

On which step do you think you will stand about five years from now? (ladder-future)

The best and worst possible life.  What does that mean to you?

Virtue Ethics, with its roots back in Aristotle, put Eudaimonia or Flourshing/Thriving as the purpose of Ethics and Life.

Of course flourishing is subjective.  Some people like chocolate and some vanilla, some are optimists and others pessimists.  But with such huge difference between US states, there must be a lot we have in common.  Something objective.  After all we share literally 99.9% of our DNA in common.

So what kinds of things do you think we have in common that lead to such flourishing and thriving?

What kinds of things do you think could create such differences between states?

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