7 States With the Happiest People

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Do you think the state where you live is a “happy” place to live? Does it foster an environment where you and your family can thrive physically, emotionally, financially, and practically?

The Gallup-Healthways well-being index scores indicate that some states score much higher than others in several metrics which indicate “happiness” among residents. Gallup-Healthways began tracking well-being back in 2008. And to determine each state’s well being index (which is scored on a scale of 0 to 100), the research database conducted more than 176,000 interviews with various residents across the country. The index score is centered around these five essential elements of well-being:

  1. Purpose: liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals
  2. Social: having supportive relationships and love in your life
  3. Financial: managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security
  4. Community: liking where you live, feeling safe, and having pride in your community
  5. Physical: having good health and enough energy to get things done daily

For each state, the well-being reports also analyzes topics, such as health, healthy behaviors, work environment, and access to necessities such as food, shelter, and medical care. Each state, as well as some of the communities within each state, are provided with scores based on these areas.

So which states score the highest, and can be considered the “happiest” states? Read on to find out.

7. Nebraska

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

  • Nebraska has ranked in the top 10 for happiness five times since 2008.
  • The state’s residents ranked particularly high in physical health and emotional health in 2013.
  • Residents in Nebraska also have historically high life evaluation scores, which “combines the evaluation of one’s present life situation with one’s anticipated life situation five years from now,” according to the Gallup-Healthways index.
Score Rank among other states
Overall well-being 63.1 7
Life evaluation 56.3 1
Emotional health 81.6 5
Work environment 51.0 12
Physical health 79.3 3
Healthy behaviors 64.9 21
Basic access 85.2 8
Source: Gallup-Healthways Index (2013-14)

6. Colorado

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

  • Colorado has ranked in the top 10 for happiness seven times since 2008.
  • Colorado scored in the top across the board in 2013.
Score Rank among other states
Overall well-being 63.2 6
Life evaluation 52.5 7
Emotional health 80.5 14
Work environment 50.8 13
Physical health 78.5 4
Healthy behaviors 67.2 7
Basic access 84.2 11
Source: Gallup-Healthways Index (2013-14)

5. Montana

source: Facebook

Montana via Facebook

  • Montana has ranked in the top 10 for happiness six times since 2008.
  • Residents in Montana ranked high for their healthy behaviors, life evaluation, emotional health, and work environment in 2013.
Score Rank among other states
Overall well-being 63.7 5
Life evaluation 54.8 2
Emotional health 81.5 6
Work environment 41.9 6
Physical health 77.6 16
Healthy behaviors 67.7 3
Basic access 82.6 23
Source: Gallup-Healthways Index (2013-14)

4. Wyoming

Photo by Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images

Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images

Wyoming has ranked in the top 10 for happiness three times since 2008.

Score Rank among other states
Overall well-being 63.9 4
Life evaluation 44.5 46
Emotional health 80.5 13
Work environment 46.6 36
Physical health 74.9 40
Healthy behaviors 64.5 24
Basic access 82.3 26
Source: Gallup-Healthways Index (2013-14)

3. South Dakota

Rapid City, South Dakota Suburbs

source: iStock

  • South Dakota has ranked in the top 10 for happiness three times since 2008.
  • In 2013, the state scored high in access (to necessities like medical care, food and shelter), work environment, and emotional health.
Score Rank among other states
Overall well-being 64.3 3
Life evaluation 52.1 8
Emotional health 82.4 3
Work environment 57.7 2
Physical health 77.7 13
Healthy behaviors 64.5 25
Basic access 85.8 5
Source: Gallup-Healthways Index (2013-14)

2. Hawaii

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

  • Hawaii has ranked in the top 10 for happiness seven times since 2008.
  • In 2013, residents ranked high for their healthy behaviors and emotional health.
Score Rank among other states
Overall well-being 64.5 2
Life evaluation 51.7 9
Emotional health 81.7 4
Work environment 46.0 42
Physical health 77.6 15
Healthy behaviors 68.1 2
Basic access 85.5 7
Source: Gallup-Healthways Index (2013-14)

1. Alaska

Dog sledding, Fairbanks Alaska

source: iStock

  • Alaska has ranked in the top 10 for happiness four times since 2008.
  • This past year (2014) was the first year Alaska earned the top spot.
  • In 2013, residents scored high for their life evaluations and emotional health.
Score Rank among other states
Overall well-being 64.7 1
Life evaluation 53.6 3
Emotional health 82.9 1
Work environment 45.3 45
Physical health 77.2 21
Healthy behaviors 65.5 17
Basic access 81.3 34
Source: Gallup-Healthways Index (2013-14)

All statistics courtesy of: Gallup Healthways

More from Culture Cheat Sheet:

More Articles About:   , , , , ,