Friday, February 21, 2014

North Dakota tops Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index; West Virginia last for fifth straight year

North Dakota might be the happiest place to live in the U.S. The state topped the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index for 2013, displacing Hawaii, which had held the top spot for the past four years. On the other end of the spectrum, folks in West Virginia and Kentucky are living the least happy, healthy and prosperous lives; West Virginia ranked last, hitting the bottom of the list for the fifth straight year. But the numerical differences are not very large.

States are scored on a scale of 0 to 100 based on interviews with residents about emotional health, work environment, physical health, healthy behaviors and access to basic necessities, Witters writes. The national average was 66.2, down 66.7 from 2012. North Dakota had a score of 70.4, while West Virginia scored 61.4.

North Dakota scored the highest for work environment, 60.7, and physical health, 79.6. Alaska was highest for emotional health, at 82.9. Vermont was first for health behaviors, at 71.7. Massachusetts was first for access to basic necessities, at 86.9. West Virginia was last in every category except work environment, with Mississippi holding that spot.

After North Dakota, the rest of the top 10 were: South Dakota, 70; Nebraska, 69.7; Minnesota, 69.7; Montana, 69.3; Vermont, 69.1; Colorado, 68.9; Hawaii, 68.4; Washington, 68; and Iowa, 68.2; After West Virginia and Kentucky, the other states at the bottom of the list were: Mississippi, 63.7; Alabama, 64.1; Ohio, 64.2; Arkansas, 64.3; Tennessee, 64.3; Missouri, 64.5; Oklahoma, 64.7; and Louisiana, 64.9. (Read more) (Gallup graphic)

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