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Western States Boast the Best Wellbeing, Southern States the Worst


Want to be happier? Move out west.

The latest Gallup report finds people living in western states have the highest well-being.

Western and Midwestern states earned nine of the 10 highest well-being scores, while Southern states accounted for half of the 10 lowest well-being scores.

For the third year in a row, Hawaii residents reported having the highest well-being in the nation in 2011, with a Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index score of 70.2. Alaska, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Utah rounded out the top five states. West Virginia residents had the lowest well-being, with a score of 62.3, slightly improved from 61.7 in 2010.

The overall well-being score for the United States was 66.2 in 2011, which is a slight decrease from the 2010 score of 66.8. The surveys are based on state-level data from January to December of 2011. The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index uses a calculation of 0 to 100, while 100 represents the highest state of well-being.

The survey also found both emotional health and healthy behaviors to be the main factors in Hawaii maintaining its number one well- being status, as the residents reported smiling and laughing more. Residents of this state also said that healthy eating and exercise habits also contributed to their number one ranking, as well as lower smoking rates.


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