Just yet another reason Hawaii seems like a dream place to live: Hawaii has the highest score for “well-being,” according to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, a poll that surveys the physical, mental and emotional health of Americans.
This is the third consecutive year Hawaii has occupied the No. 1 spot. That’s because Hawaiians were the most likely to say they smiled or laughed a lot “yesterday” and the least likely to report daily worry or stress and to have ever been diagnosed with depression.
Plus, residents’ good eating and exercise habits and lower smoking rates earn them the distinction of having the nation’s healthiest behaviors.
The poll examined people’s ratings in life evaluation (whether they saw themselves as struggling or thriving), physical health (obesity, number of sick days taken over the month), emotional health (happiness, depression, stress), healthy behaviors (smoking, eating, exercising), work environment (job satisfaction, treatment at work) and basic access (safety in the neighborhood, access to medicine, doctor, health insurance).
Overall, Western and Midwestern states earned the highest wellbeing scores while Southern states accounted for half of the 10 lowest wellbeing scores. Southern states tend to have the highest obesity rates.
Still, the report notes, wellbeing across states remains essentially static, reflecting the continuing sluggish economy. Improving wellbeing poses a challenge for leaders as many states continue to face severe fiscal problems, reductions in public services, public-sector layoffs or salary cuts, and decreases in federal aid. High unemployment, static or declining salaries, and overwhelming debt burdens—all of which have the potential to affect different aspects of wellbeing—continue to challenge residents, Gallup reports.
Top five states in well-being:
- North Dakota
Bottom five states in well-being:
- West Virginia