The late Tom Petty’s Free Fallin’ might be a theme for what has happened to the once high-flying Sunshine State in the highly regarded annual Community Well-Being Index released Thursday.
The yearly survey ties to factors that include dwellers’ views about health, financial security, community and sense of purpose.
In Southwest Florida, the Naples-Marco Island metropolitan area dominated the survey in the past, at one point garnering No. 1 four years in a row, with other Sunshine Staters also consistently putting on a good showing. Not this year, though.
That area plummeted to No. 43, and Florida had most of its communities in the last half of the 383 metros rated and 15 of its 23 in the bottom 200 or so.
The Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach area, boosted by its community food access to healthy sustenance retailers and grocery stores, led the state, down at No. 39 overall.
The research comes from digital health company Sharecare. They compiled 2020 results from 450,000 surveys of households and others, along with digging even deeper with 600 data points collected from various agencies including U.S. Census, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The organizations involved conclude it’s not that these areas are somehow that much worse off. It’s just other regions have improved that much more.
Here’s a look at how more of Florida’s biggest cities ranked on the list.
In Southwest Florida:Naples-Marco Island area plummets from top to No. 43 on Community Well-Being Index
How did Florida metros rank?
39. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach
43. Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island
78. North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton
115. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater
181. Cape Coral-Fort Myers
184. Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin
186. Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville
192. Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent
203. Panama City
206. Port St. Lucie
228. Sebastian-Vero Beach
243 Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach
244. Punta Gorda
265. The Villages
315. Lakeland-Winter Haven
375. Homosassa Springs
Top and Bottom 5
1. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA
2. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
3. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
4. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH
5. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT
379. McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX
380. Las Cruces, NM
381. Sumter, SC
382. Farmington, NM
383. Pine Bluff, AR
Source: Sharecare, which operates Blue Zones Projects, and the Boston University School of Public Health.
USA TODAY Network — Florida producer Megan Kearney contributed to this report.