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Hawaii displaced as happiest state, Washington State in top 10

Washington State in top 10 'happiest state' rankings
Washington State in top 10 'happiest state' rankings
M. Elaine Wilson

Last month Gallup released its Healthways Well-Being Index, which has become an annual event since its 2008 inception. Basically, residents of all 50 states are interviewed and rated on physical and mental well being factors; actually 6 indexes, including life evaluation, emotional and physical health, work environment, healthy behaviors and access to basic necessities. The most recent study was conducted from January through December of last year, based on interviews with 178,000 people.

From the get-go Hawaii has ranked number 1 as the happiest state, except last year when it was displaced by North Dakota. Actually Hawaii fell to number 8 followed by Washington State as number 9, the only coastal state on the list, Top 10 Happiest States: Did Yours Make The List? - Forbes. In no small part, the change in rankings has been tied to the revolution in the oil and gas industries.

Paradoxically, in another study published earlier this month, Hawaii was also listed as number 8 of 10 states where income inequality has soared, Ten States Where Income Inequality Has Soared - 24/7 Wall St.. Washington State is not listed, but nearly Oregon is on the list.

According to the U.S Energy Information Agency, job growth in the oil and gas industry, as well as related and supporting businesses has been strong and is expected to continue, Oil and gas industry employment growing much faster than total private sector employment - Today in Energy - U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).