How happy are the people in your state and how does it compare to other states?

Utah, Hawaii, Wyoming, Colorado, and Minnesota are happiest states. Except for the state of Nevada, all of the states in the Rocky Mountain west are in the top 20 or top 40% of the happiest states (see the map at the end of this post).

West Virginia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, and Arkansas are the unhappiest states.

Based on extensive polling, Gallup ranked states and congressional districts by a number of categories which range from how happy people are about their life and their work, to their physical and mental health. These were combined to create a “Well-Being Index”.

The top 20 states with their well-being index and their rank out of 50

According to the Gallup-Healthways web site: “The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Indexâ„¢ has been developed to provide the official measure for health and well-being. It’s the voice of Americans and the most ambitious effort ever undertaken to measure what people believe constitutes a good life.”

“Over the next 25 years, the Well-Being Index will collect and measure the daily pulse of the nation’s well-being and provide best-in-class solutions for a healthier world. By helping Americans understand how work impacts life and health and conversely how life affects work and health, we can work together to improve well-being for a better way of life.”

I have lived in two of the 20 happiest states (Colorado and Nebraska) and four out of the 10 unhappiest states (Missouri, Oklahoma, Michigan, and Ohio). I wonder what that means?!

The bottom 10 states, ranked from 41 to 50

Seeing these lists reminded me of a life expectancy study. The 7 counties in the United States with the highest life expectancy are all in Colorado. Over half of the 25 counties with the highest life expectancy are in the west. If you are curious, of the 25 counties in the United States with the lowest life expectancy, 5 are in Mississippi, 2 are in West Virginia, and 2 are in Arkansas.

What is it about the west that makes people happier and live longer? Maybe John Soule and Horace Greeley are right: “Go west young man”.

All 50 states from the top 20% to the bottom 20%

You can create a report for all 50 states by going here and using the “Quick Report Builder”.

More information is at the Gallup-Healthways web site.

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