Gallup recently published an interactive map titled State of the States that provides statistical data on people’s views of politics, the economy, religion and overall well-being. Mainers appear to have fairly positive attitudes about their circumstances, but they aren’t as optimistic and healthy as people from Vermont.
Here’s what the data says:
1. Mainers — more than most — feel appreciated by their state.
When asked whether state residents felt recognized for helping to improve their city or area in the past 12 months, 21.8 percent of Mainers reported positively. That’s second in New England to Vermont’s 24.4 percent and good enough to be tied for ninth (with Colorado) in the nation. It’s also 2.7 percent higher than the national average (19.1 percent).
2. Mainers aren’t very religious.
More than half of the population — 51.1 percent of Mainers — answered that religion wasn’t an important aspect of their lives and that they seldom or never attended religious services. In New England — and the nation — that’s just tailing Vermont (56.3 percent). The national average of nonreligious citizens, according to the study, is 30.3 percent.
3. We eat a lot of produce.
In Maine, 63.1 percent of residents answered that they eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables at least four — or more — days per week. Care to guess which state, barely, inches us out nationally? Vermont leads the charge for healthy eating with 64.5 percent of their residents reporting that they, too, eat a lot of veggies. The national average, comparatively, was 57.6 percent.
4. We all have to exercise more, though (if we want to beat Vermont).
Maine appears to do pretty well in the exercise department. When asked if they exercised for at least 30 minutes three or more days per week, 53.1 percent of Mainers answered yes. That’s 1.2 percent above the national average (51.9 percent), but it’s still not good enough to eclipse Vermont’s 56.8 percent. It also doesn’t completely jive with our actual obesity rate; Maine has the 27th highest rate of adult obesity, according to “The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America.”
5. We definitely have a solid claim to “the way life should be.”
In quantifying “overall well-being,” Gallup takes into consideration five elements that are integral to a healthy, “good” life: community involvement, consistent physical activity, financial security, a satisfying social life and a feeling of purpose. So how did Maine do? Compared with the rest of New England, pretty well. More than half of all Mainers — 62.4 percent — are reportedly experiencing a positive overall well-being, compared with the national average of 61.6 percent. The only state to score higher in New England? Vermont (62.7 percent).