The happiest states – or states ranking the best when measured by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index – were revealed in February of 2014. Based on 2013 data, North Dakota residents scored the highest numbers in terms of well-being. Quite logically, North Dakota’s neighbor to the south – South Dakota – came in second on the list of happiest states in the country.
Previously, Hawaii held the top spot on the list – for four years, actually – but fell slightly in 2013’s ratable data.
On the low end of the list, West Virginia and Kentucky maintained their positions as the bottom two states as Kentucky came in at number 49 and West Virginia came in at number 50. It’s the fifth year in a row that these two states have held on to the positions which assert they are the least happy states in the country.
So, how does Gallup and Healthways determine which states are happier than others? They obtain their data by conducting more than 178,000 interviews with American adults across all 50 states in the union. The interviews were conducted from January through December of 2013. The interview examined life evaluation, emotional health, work environment, physical healthy, healthy behaviors, and access to basic necessities. The Well-Being Index measures from 0 to 100. Zero is the lowest and 100 is an ideal score of well-being.
The well-being survey has been conducted since 2008 which allows some room for comparison over the past several years. In the past year, from the 2012 figures to the 2013 figures, the Well-Being Index score for the nation has dropped one-half point from 66.7 in 2012 to 66.2 in 2013. This year’s score matches the previous los score which was measured in 2011 over the past six years.
The Happiest States in the United States (Well-Being Index)
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
- Washington state
At the other end of the list…
The Least-Happy States in the United States (Well-Being Index)
- West Virginia
The scores ranged on the Well-Being Index from 70.4 for North Dakota to 61.4 for West Virginia.