The Healthiest, Happiest State in America Might Surprise You
Where does your state land on this year's Well-Being Index?
Gallup and Sharecare just released its annual Well-Being Index, which looks at the happiest and healthiest states in America. Find out if yours made the list.
It seems like for most people, 2017 was a no good, bad year, according to Gallup-Sharecare’s 2017 State Well-Being Rankings. The annual report looks at well-being across the United States through telephone interviews conducted with 160,498 adults. The rankings are determined by five factors: purpose, social, financial, community, and physical.
Across the country, it looks like most people had a worse year than 2016—the national Well-Being Index score was 61.5 in 2017, while it was 62.1 in 2016. According to Gallup-Sharecare, that’s the largest year-over-year decline since the index began in 2008. The report found that there were declines in “purpose” and “social” factors, and mental health aspects of physical well-being. However, 2017 wasn’t all that bad for some other well-being elements. For physical health, Americans reported that they were regularly exercising, watching their diets, and stopping any smoking habits. They were also happy about their communities—that factor improved from 2016 to 2017.
In terms of state rankings, South Dakota and Vermont tied with a score of 64.1. Hawaii ranked third this year and is the only state that ranked in the top 10 across all well-being factors. The Aloha state and Colorado have been in the top 10 every year since the Index started.
West Virginia landed at the bottom of the overall list, due to low financial and physical well-being scores. Many states saw a decline in scores from 2016 to 2017, including Washington, California, South Carolina, Florida, New Jersey, and Ohio. Even high-ranking Hawaii wasn’t immune to a slight drop in score.
The report also gives some “best practices” for employers, state and community leaders, healthy systems, and hospitals to help improve scores. They include “engage individuals and promote sustained lifestyle changes,” “foster a culture of well-being,” “create an active living environment and make the healthy choice the easy choice,” and “measure benchmark, and identify opportunities.”
Take a look at the top 10 and bottom 10 lists below:
Top 10 States
- South Dakota
- North Dakota
- New Hampshire
Bottom 10 States
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia