When you think about well-being, what U.S. state comes to mind? Hawaii? Colorado, maybe, or Vermont? Although these states scored well in the new Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, the state that nailed the top spot was North Dakota, and it barely edged out South Dakota.
But how do you determine states of well-being? For the report, more than 178,000 Americans in all 50 states evaluated their overall lives, emotional health, work environments, social and community factors, physical health, healthy behaviors, financial security and access to basic necessities from January through December 2013.
Gallup theorized that North Dakota’s recent oil boom helped the state, which also hit No. 1 in job creation and payroll per capita last year. Other Great Plains and western states scored well, too, with Nebraska, Minnesota, Montana, Vermont, Colorado, Hawaii, Washington and Iowa rounding out the top 10.
Southern states made up most of the bottom 10: West Virginia was 50th, followed by Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama, Ohio, Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, Oklahoma and Louisiana.
Although well-being rankings have generally stayed steady since 2008, Gallup found that Nevada, Montana, Vermont, Nebraska, Iowa and Maine notched the greatest improvements.
How does your community measure up?