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Happiest State in the US


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<span style="font-size:10.5pt;">

Sun and waves might be good for the soul, according to a new national survey naming Hawaii as tops in well-being among U.S. states — but the sunshine doesn't necessarily elbow out Northern Lights and snow, as Alaska also made the top 10 happiest states list.

The 2010 telephone survey was conducted by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31. Results showed the South may need some smile help, with 10 southern states falling into the lower range of the list. Many western states, however, shined in well-being, with five of the top 10 located in that region of the country. [Related: Happiest States Revealed by New Research]

The survey — which included a random sample of 352,840 adults ages 18 and older living in the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia — looked at six categories of well-being. These categories included life evaluation (self-evaluation about your present life situation and anticipated one in five years); emotional health; work environment (such as job satisfaction); physical health; healthy behavior; and basic access (access to health care, a doctor, a safe place to exercise and walk, as well as community satisfaction).

The top 10 states and their average well-being scores (out of a possible 100 points):

1. Hawaii: 71.0

2. Wyoming: 69.2

3. North Dakota: 68.4

4. Alaska: 68.3

5. Colorado: 68.0

6. Minnesota: 68.0

7. South Dakota: 68.0

8. Utah: 67.9

9. Connecticut: 67.9

10. Nebraska: 67.8

11. Massachusetts: 67.8

The bottom 10 states

1. West Virginia: 61.7

2. Kentucky: 61.9

3. Mississippi: 63.0

4. Arkansas: 63.7

5. Alabama: 63.7

6. Ohio: 63.8

7. Delaware: 64.2

8. Nevada: 64.2

9. Louisiana: 64.3

10. Michigan: 64.6

(Full list of happiest states)

Hawaii's stellar placement was due to its scores on three well-being categories: life evaluation, emotional health and physical health. At the other end of the spectrum, West Virginia came in last by performing worst on those same three categories.

Delaware residents reported the worst work environments in the country, while those living in South Dakota were most positive about work conditions.

Compared with 2009 well-being results, Vermont still boasted the best overall health habits in America, and Kentucky continued to have the worst. Massachusetts residents indicated the best access to necessities crucial to high well-being, while Mississippi residents again reported the worst, with a score on this index even lower than it was in 2009.

Continued here.</span>

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It figures most of the southern states would be on the bottom end. Sorry but I have found Southern hospitality to be nothing but a myth. From my short time in South Carolina I found nothing but hostility and suspicion from everyone. Surprised though my home state of New Mexico is at 21, I thought it'd be much lower.

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Haha soapfan, as native of South Carolina, I agree with you, such a horrible place to live. I'm dumbfounded that SC ranked better than the rest of the souther states, most importantly the sunshine state.

I can probably understand why Wyoming is ranked so high, states like Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming (mainly the four corner states) are seeing a rejuvenation of sorts with their economy and more people seem to be traveling to those states these days. What I can't quite comprehend is why North Dakota is ranked so high?

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