Friday, January 29, 2016

Hawaii, Alaska top Well Being Index; Southern states stuck at the bottom of list

Hawaii is the place to be if you want to be happy. West Virginia not so much. The Aloha State grabbed the top spot in the  2015 Gallup-Healthways Well Being Index, while the Mountain State was stuck at the bottom for the seventh consecutive year. The poll, which consisted of 177,000 interviews in every state throughout 2015, ranked states based on 100 point scale for: Purpose (liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals); Social (having supportive relationships and love in your life); Financial (managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security); Community (liking where you live, feeling safe and having pride in your community); and Physical (having good health and enough energy to get things done daily.)

The average score in the U.S. was 61.7, up from 61.4 in 2014. Hawaii scored 64.8, followed by Alaska, 64.1; Montana, 63.8; Colorado, 63.6; Wyoming and South Dakota, 63.5; Minnesota, 63.3; Utah, 63.1; and Arizona, 63. West Virginia scored a 58.5. Kentucky, which ranked 49th for the seventh consecutive year, scored a 60.3. Following Kentucky was Oklahoma, 60.4; Ohio and Indiana, 60.5; Missouri, 60.8; Arkansas and Mississippi, 60.9; and Louisiana, 61.1.

While the gap in numbers does not seem that large, "In most cases, a difference of 0.5 to 1.0 point in the Well-Being Index score between any two states represents a statistically significant gap and is characterized by meaningfully large differences in at least some of the individual metrics that make up the overall Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index," states Healthways.

America's well-being was statistically the same between 2014 and 2015, with financial well-being rising, "and American perceptions and ratings of their lives reached an all-time high," Niraj Chokshi reports for The Washington Post. "At the same time, food and health-care insecurity and smoking rates fell. But there is some backsliding, too. Obesity continued to climb, and more part-time employees were seeking full-time work." (Post map)

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