The northern Plains and Mountain West are higher well-being regions,
If you’re happy and you know it, there’s a good chance you live in Hawaii. Or Alaska. Or Montana. These three states top the latest Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, which bills itself as “the most proven, mature and comprehensive measure of well-being in the world.”
Hawaii residents had the highest well-being of any state in 2015. The Aloha State reached the top spot for the fifth time since Gallup and Healthways began tracking well-being in 2008. Alaska, which was named the top state for well-being the previous year, slipped to second on the list. Rounding out the top 10 states for well-being are:
· South Dakota
Hawaii and Colorado are the only two states that made the list of the 10 highest well-being states since the survey’s inception. California’s ranking in the top 10 this year is its best since ranking ninth in 2008. North Dakota and Iowa, outside of the top 15 in 2014, re-entered this list in 2015.
West Virginia and Kentucky have the lowest and second-lowest well-being, respectively, for the seventh consecutive year.
The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index is based on more than 2.3 million surveys designed to capture how people feel about and experience their daily lives. The data provides a comprehensive view of well-being across five factors:
· 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 and taking pride where you live and feeling safe
· Physical: having good health and enough energy to get this done daily.
According to the report, “Policy, community and business leaders can use these data to benchmark populations, understand gaps and opportunities, and then prioritize interventions to measurably improve well-being.”
Nationally, well-being is statistically unchanged from 2014. Among the positive national well-being trends include an uptick in financial well-being, a decline in the uninsured rate, a decline in smoking to its highest rate since the survey originated, an increase in reported exercise, and declines in food and healthcare insecurity. Life evaluation, which measures how Americans rate and perceive their lives, also reached its highest levels to date.
Since 2012, the top 10 states with the most consistently high well-being are: Hawaii, Colorado, Montana, South Dakota, Minnesota, Utah, Nebraska, Iowa, Alaska and Vermont. Regarding the 2015 rankings, Delaware leads in purpose, South Carolina in social, Alaska in financial, Montana in community and Hawaii in physical. As in prior years, the survey finds, the northern Plains and Mountain West are higher well-being regions, along with some western states and pockets of the Northeast and Atlantic. The lowest well-being states are in the south and through the industrial Midwest.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.