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For the third time in a row, the healthiest, happiest city in the US is...

This report measures how Americans feel about their physical health, social ties, financial security, community and sense of purpose.
by A. Pawlowski / / Source: TODAY
Naples, Florida, USA
Beside its beautiful beaches, Naples, Florida, is also known for its social scene and shopping.Getty Images

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Life is good on “Paradise Coast” — home to some of the healthiest, happiest and most relaxed people in the nation.

The posh beach community of Naples, Florida, and the nearby towns of Immokalee and Marco Island once again take the No. 1 spot in the Gallup-Sharecare State of American Well-Being 2017 Community Rankings, outshining 185 other U.S. metropolitan areas.

It’s the first time the same community has “three-peated,” or topped the list three times in a row since the report began a decade ago, said Dan Witters, research director of the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index.

“It’s a place that’s got a lot of good things going for it,” Witters told TODAY about Naples. “It’s pretty close to a clean sweep.”

The report measures how Americans feel about their physical health, social ties, financial security, community and sense of purpose. The nirvana is scoring high in all those metrics and achieving holistic well-being.

Boulder, Colorado, for example, always scores high in physical health, Witters noted. But Naples shines across all five elements, with its residents enjoying healthy bodies and minds, warm relationships, meaningful activities, a sense of safety and good financial health. They also report little depression and stress.

In all, five states account for 17 of the top 25 well-being communities: California, Florida, Colorado, North Carolina and Virginia.

Highest Well-being communities Map
TODAY

The 10 communities with the highest well-being are:

1. Naples–Immokalee–Marco Island, Florida

2. Barnstable Town, Massachusetts

3. Boulder, Colorado

4. Santa Cruz–Watsonville, California

5. Charlottesville, Virginia

6. Lynchburg, Virginia

7. North Port–Sarasota–Bradenton, Florida

8. Santa Rosa, California

9. Prescott, Arizona

10. San Luis Obispo–Paso Robles–Arroyo Grande, California

At the other end of the spectrum, Fort Smith — located on the border of Arkansas and Oklahoma — returns to the bottom of the list.

“It’s a low well-being place and it always has been,” Witters noted. “They’re just getting killed on the physical health metrics.”

Many residents there report having high blood pressure or diabetes, while the smoking and obesity rates are some of the highest in the nation.

About half of the report’s 25 lowest-ranked communities are in the South, though the path of low well-being places also “worms its way north” through the industrial Midwest, Witters said. It’s marked by very poor physical health, poor eating habits, “sky high” obesity, high diabetes and poor financial well-being, he added.

Lowest well-being communities in the US
TODAY

The 10 communities at the bottom of the list are:

177. Flint, Michigan

178. Rockford, Illinois

179. Fayetteville, North Carolina

180. Erie, Pennsylvania

181. South Bend–Mishawaka, Indiana–Michigan

182. Binghamton, New York

183. Hickory–Lenoir–Morganton, North Carolina

184. Gulfport–Biloxi–Pascagoula, Mississippi

185. Canton–Massillon, Ohio

186. Fort Smith, Arkansas-Oklahoma

The place where residents feel the safest is…

That’s Barnstable Town, Massachusetts, where 93 percent of residents said they always felt safe and secure.

The cities where residents felt the least safe were Rockford, Illinois; Stockton, California; New Orleans, Louisiana; Memphis, Tennessee and Fayetteville, North Carolina.

The city where residents feel the most stress is…

That’s Gainesville, Florida. But stress isn’t always indicative of low well-being places, Witters said. Residents in Provo, Utah, for example, report the second-highest levels of stress in the nation even though the city always ranks near the top of the well-being index.

Naples residents reported the country's lowest stress levels.

The report results are based on more than 337,000 phone interviews conducted in 2016 and 2017.

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