Happy state!: image via matthewferry.com So you're in a happy state... but are you in a happy State? The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index is designed to tell you just that. Gallup conducts this poll every year in every U.S. state to determine who's happy and what influences their happiness. In 2010, interviews were conducted with 352,840 adults living in all 50 states and in Washington DC.
The Gallop-Healthways Well-Being index has six sub-indexes: emotional health, life evaluation, work environment, physical health, healthy behaviors, and access to basic necessities like food and shelter. Each respondent is asked a series of questions that apply to each of the sub-indexes. An example, say, of an emotional health question would be "How many times a day do you laugh?" or "How often are you with close friends or relatives?"
Hawaii is the happiest state in the nation, scoring highest in the emotional health, life evaluation, and physical health sub-indexes. Wyoming, North Dakota, Alaska, and Colorado folks are also way up there on the happy scale.
West Virginia is the least happy state, based largely on the lowest scores in the same three areas as Hawaii - the emotional health, life evaluation, and physical health sub-indexes. Kentucky, Mississipi, Arkansas, and Alabama have close to the lowest happiness scores and Nevada is the only western state to be included in the low happiness group.
Here is a map of the outcome of the 2010 Well-Being index, so you can see what state you are in...
Results of the Gallop-Healthways Well-Being 2010 index, by state
In comparing this map with recent information collected by the Centers for Disease Control, I see that there is a remarkable overlap between the least happy states and the states which are the most medicated and most obese.
You can research each state's specific data at the Gallup website.
sources: Gallup, WebMD