Which State Residents Have the Best and Worst Sense of Well-Being?


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The latest Gallup-Healthways Well-Being was based on more than 177,000 interviews with adults across all 50 states.

Hawaii residents had the highest degree of “well-being” among U.S. states last year, according rankings released this week. At the bottom of the list for the eighth year in a row: West Virginia.

The rankings were issued by the analytics firm Gallup and Healthways, a company focused on preventive health care initiatives—like community fitness. The two organizations began tracking well-being in U.S. states in 2008 as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.

During that time, Hawaii has had the highest well-being score six times, according to Gallup. Other top performing states included Alaska, which checked in second on the well-being index this year, and Colorado, which has been in the top 10 for nine consecutive years.

Along with West Virginia, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi and Ohio have been within the index’s bottom 10 spots every year, Gallup’s breakdown of the latest results says. The synopsis also notes that Rhode Island ranked in the bottom 10 for the first time in 2016.

The state-level data used for the index are based on over 177,000 interviews with adults across all 50 states. Survey questions delve into areas that have to do with financial security, health and whether people like what they do each day and have supportive relationships.

Nationally, about 55 percent of those surveyed rated their lives well enough to be considered “thriving” last year—a record high percentage for the well-being index.

Gallup’s complete look at the survey results can be found here.

Bill Lucia is a Senior Reporter for Government Executive's Route Fifty and is based in Washington, D.C.

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