A new report from Gallup shows just which state's the happiest in the union.
Results of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, released Monday (Feb. 27), ranks the states based on their well-being. And the verdict is: life seems to be (figuratively) sunnier in the western U.S., while well-being was reported to be lowest in southern states.
The nation in general scored a 66.2 in 2011 on the 0-to-100 scale, which is down a little bit from 2010, when the score was a 66.8. The Gallup researchers noted that this was because the scores decreased slightly among all six factors used for the index. However, state scores largely remained unchanged from 2010 to 2011.
The well-being index took into account these factors:
- Emotional health, which included how likely a resident was to say they smiled or laughed a lot yesterday, or whether they had a daily stress or worry. Hawaii ranked the highest in this category, while Kentucky ranked the lowest.
- Life Evaluation, which was how likely residents were to say they were "thriving." Alaska ranked the highest in this category, while West Virginia ranked the lowest.
- Work Environment, which is how positive or negative the perception an employee has on his or her workplace. It includes how well the employee can utilizes his or her strengths at work and whether the work environment is a trusting one. North Dakota ranked the highest in this category, while Delaware ranked the lowest.
- Physical Health, which includes the percentage of obese residents in the state. Minnesota ranked the highest in this category, while West Virginia ranked the lowest.
- Healthy Behaviors, which included exercising, not smoking and eating healthily. Hawaii ranked the highest in this category, while Oklahoma ranked the lowest.
- Basic Access, which measures ease of access to health insurance, a safe work-out space, food, shelter and medicines. Massachusetts ranked the highest in this category, while Mississippi ranked the lowest.
To see which 10 states ranked the highest overall in the well-being index -- and which 10 states ranked the lowest -- click through the slideshow. What are your thoughts? Are any of these results surprising to you?