The Santa Barbara County cities of Santa Barbara, Goleta and Santa Maria ranked sixth among small to medium cities in a Gallup poll measuring the “well-being” index of U.S. metropolitan areas.

The poll, which examined six categories — including a life evaluation, emotional health, work environment, physical health, healthy behavior and a basic access index — listed the San Jose metropolitan area as the top large city in the country. Las Vegas ranked the worst.

The life evaluation asked participants to rate their lives on a scale of one to 10. Emotional health questions addressed qualities such as smiling, laughter, depression, frustration — even how people felt about educational opportunities and recreational activities.

The work environment index measured job satisfaction, and the physical health index evaluated health in terms of the number of sick days taken and health problems diagnosed. Habits such as smoking, eating produce and exercising regularly were covered by the healthy behavior index. The basic access index looked at access to clean water, medical treatment, safe places to exercise and recreate, and affordable produce, among other parameters.

The top five of the small- to medium-size cities, starting at No. 1, were Boulder, Colo., Holland/Grand Haven, Mich., Honolulu, Provo/Orem, Utah, and Santa Rosa/Petaluma.

The sizes of the metropolitan areas polled in the survey were determined by statistics from the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.

Click here to view complete poll results.

Noozhawk staff writer Ben Preston can be reached at