How happy are the people in your state? Gallup released its annual rankings and we would love to know your opinions. What do you think makes people in an area happier? Does your happiness factor have an impact on your children?
PORTIONS REPUBLISHED FROM GALLUP.COM
Gallup is out with its annual ranking of the happiest states in the U.S., and this year North Dakota grabbed the top spot, taking the title from longtime frontrunner Hawaii, and just edging out South Dakota and Nebraska.
Gallup measures happiness, or wellbeing, on a set of six sub-indexes, which individually examine life evaluation, emotional health, work environment, physical health, healthy behaviors, and access to basic necessities.
These state-level data are based on more than 178,000 interviews with American adults across all 50 states, conducted from January-December 2013. Gallup and Healthways started tracking state-level well-being in 2008.
The Well-Being Index is calculated on a scale of 0 to 100, where a score of 100 represents ideal well-being. Well-Being Index scores among states varied within a nine-point range in 2013. The Well-Being Index score for the nation in 2013 dipped to 66.2 from 66.7 in 2012, and matches the previous low, measured in 2011.
Overall well-being in the U.S. and within states has been fairly steady since 2008, although the national Well-Being Index score fell in 2013. The nation's well-being declined despite improvement in economic confidence in most states. Still, steady growth in 11 states' well-being scores since 2010 illustrates that sustained improvements in well-being are possible regardless of national trends. Four states in particular -- Montana, Vermont, Nebraska, and Iowa -- demonstrate that steady progress is possible, even among the top 10 well-being states.
Gallup's research has shown that people take a variety of factors into account when evaluating their well-being. Job creation, for example, is related to well-being; Gallup's job creation rankings for 2013 are correlated with the well-being rankings. The 2013 Payroll to Population (P2P) state rankings are also correlated with top and bottom well-being states. North Dakota, which has benefited economically from the surge in its oil industry, was the top state in both job creation and P2P in 2013. And other behavioral factors, such as smoking rates, generally line up with well-being at the state level as well.