What is up with the politicians in Kentucky and West Virginia? Don't they pay attention to Gallup polls?

For the sixth straight year, respondents to a 2014 Gallup poll about overall well-being found folks expressing the least degree of well-being in West Virginia, with Bluegrass State residents not far behind in 49th place. There oughta be a law against feelin' low in those states.

Meantime, the 49th state — Alaska — topped Gallup's list this year for the first time since the poll was launched by Gallup and its partner, Healthways, in 2008. Perhaps ironically, the 50th state, Hawaii, placed second in overall well-being, despite have such advantages over The Last Frontier as lots of sun, beautiful beaches, pineapples, grass skirts, a popular word that means hello and goodbye, and no shortage of ukuleles.

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Dan Cook

Dan Cook is a journalist and communications consultant based in Portland, OR. During his journalism career he has been a reporter and editor for a variety of media companies, including American Lawyer Media, BusinessWeek, Newhouse Newspapers, Knight-Ridder, Time Inc., and Reuters. He specializes in health care and insurance related coverage for BenefitsPRO.