They don’t call it the Paradise Coast for nothing. The beautiful southwest Florida area of Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island has long drawn residents with its sunshine and beaches. And for the third time in a row, it can include “highest well-being” on its résumé — according to a report from pollsters Gallup and Sharecare, which gave the community their highest rating in the category. The category is meant to provide a more well-rounded idea of what a community might be like to live in beyond standard criteria like housing and weather.
To come up with their ranking, Gallup and Sharecare scored communities during a two-year survey according to how they performed in five categories: purpose, social, financial, community and physical. "Purpose" reflects a community's "general motivation and enthusiasm in day-to-day life," while "social" is meant to represent the quality of relationships there. "Financial," according to the pollsters, specifically measures the ability of people in a community to "avoid finance-related stress," while the "community" category tries to gauge things like pride of place, plus how "included" and safe residents feel. Finally, "physical" reflects the energy, vitality and general health of the community. Gallup-Sharecare ranked each community in each of the five categories before combining the scores into a final index score. Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island ranked first in purpose, social and financial, while coming in second for community and physical.
Barnestable Town, Mass., Boulder, Colo., Santa Cruz-Watsonville, Calif., Charlottesville, Va., Lynchburg, Va., North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, Fla., Santa Rosa, Calif., Prescott, Ariz., and San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, Calif., round out the top 10 communities in the report. Barnestable Town specifically topped the survey in the community category, while Boulder came in first in the physical category.
But the high-scoring communities proved to be the exceptions. The well-being score for all communities surveyed dropped from 62.1 in 2016 to 61.5 in 2017 — the largest year-over-year drop in the 10-year history of the index. Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island’s score rose, from 66.3 in 2016 to 67.6 in 2017.
The top community’s well-being rating isn’t due to a younger crowd, either — Naples’ median age is 65.2, with a median age of 49.8 for the larger metro area, making it a top destination for over-50 Americans looking for a retirement community.