These Are the Happiest, Healthiest U.S. States—Here's What They're Doing Right
Global analytics firm Gallup recently released their ranking of the happiest and healthiest U.S. states. These rankings, which have been released every year since 2008, are based on over 115,000 surveys of adults across the country.
According to Gallup, “The Well-Being Index is calculated on a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 represents the lowest possible wellbeing and 100 represents the highest possible wellbeing.” Additionally, scores are calculated on five essential elements of wellbeing:
- Physical: having good health and enough energy to get things done daily
- Social: having supportive relationships and love in your life
- Career: liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals
- Financial: managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security
- Community: liking where you live, feeling safe and having pride in your community
So, which states scored the highest in all five categories? You probably won’t be too surprised to hear that Hawaii reported the highest wellbeing score in the U.S. for the seventh time. The top 10 states behind Hawaii (in order of highest to lowest scores) are Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, Utah, Colorado, Vermont, Delaware, South Dakota, and North Dakota.
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Interestingly enough, Hawaii and Colorado are the two most consistently happy states—they’ve ranked in the top 10 states for wellbeing every single year of the study (and they’re the only two states to do so!) We’re betting it’s the outdoor activities these states are known for—from swimming, to surfing, to skiing, and hiking—that are keeping their residents happy and healthy. It’s also interesting to note that Hawaii and Colorado have two of the lowest obesity rates in the country.
So, which states scored the lowest? The bottom three states in the U.S. in terms of wellbeing are Indiana, Illinois, and Louisiana. These states are among the most obese states (Louisiana and Indiana are in the top 12) in the country. These states also reported some of the lowest satisfaction rates in the career and financial sectors of the wellbeing assessment.
There’s been an average overall decline in wellbeing over the past two years (largely attributed to a reported decline in social and career wellbeing.) Interestingly enough, not all elements suffered—physical wellbeing improved in nearly all states last year, which is encouraging since it can lead to a decreased risk of both obesity and chronic disease, according to Gallup.
The bottom line: There’s an obvious tie between physical health and wellbeing. Prioritizing self-care in all aspects of your life—from a healthy diet to your career choices—can help contribute to overall happiness.