All this is excellent from a strictly dairy business perspective. However, other parts of the country offer similar economic environmental conditions and even milder weather! What is it about South Dakota that has made the difference? Quality of life is oftentimes mentioned as a decision to move or relocate. Could this be making a difference for South Dakota?
In the most recent 2013 Gallup-Healthways poll, 176,000 people from all 50 states in the U.S. were surveyed for six indices that were later were combined: access to basic needs, healthy behavior, work environment, physical health, life evaluation and optimism, and emotional health. Well-being effectively reflects health, employment, education and the local environment. According to Dan Witters research director of this index, a strong economy and a healthy, educated workforce can improve well-being.
Strong well-being may in turn act as catalyst for further development. The top states with high well-being scores not necessarily had higher income however they offered other advantages, such as high educational attainment and low unemployment. The per state composited well-being index went from 0 to 100, (100 represented the ideal) with the top two states in the nation being North Dakota and South Dakota with 70.4 and 70.0, respectively.
South Dakota respondents were among the most likely in the U.S. to report good emotional health. Ninety percent reported enjoying a large portion of their day, and more than 93% felt happy during the previous 24 hours, more than any other state. The state’s unemployment rate in December at 3.6% tied for the second lowest in the U.S. Not only did much of the workforce in South Dakota have a job, but also were more likely to enjoy their work environment.
The success of South Dakota as a dairy state is not just that its climate and economic conditions are conducive to profitable and sustainable agricultural practices. It is foremost a combination of those with a living environment where well-being and quality of life is currently rated among the highest in the nation.