These Are The Happiest & Healthiest States In The Country

Figuring out our happiness is a tricky thing, but we do know it's affected by where we live. Now, new results rank the happiest and healthiest states in the country, suggesting that those in Alaska are having a pretty great time while those in West Virginia aren't doing so hot.

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index released its latest rankings this week. This report includes an analysis of over 176,000 interviews with people across the country done during 2014. Interviewees were asked questions that assess their feelings about five different aspects of well-being: Social, community, physical, financial, and having "purpose." Specifically, these measure things such as the degree to which respondents feel safe where they live or how motivated they are to achieve their goals. 

As you might expect, a few of the best-ranking states, such as Hawaii and Colorado, have shown up there before. And, the big winner — Alaska — has been in the top 10 four times since the Index began in 2008. But, overall, several of those well-being factors have gotten better over time and were at their highest in 2014. And, just because a state ranks high or low overall doesn't mean it ranks that way in all five categories. For instance, New York ranked 33rd overall, but was number 17 in the physical category. And, while California was 12th overall, its community ranking was way down at 30.

Previous research has shown that the way our cities are laid out can also have an impact on our health. If it's easier to get around on foot or bike, we're probably more likely to choose those methods of transportation than sitting in a car. But, physical health is just one component of well-being that the Index accounts for. So, if the weather wasn't enough of a hint, this can be your excuse for a getaway. 
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Here are the top 10:

1. Alaska
2. Hawaii
3. South Dakota
4. Wyoming
5. Montana
6. Colorado
7. Nebraska
8. Utah
9. New Mexico
10. Texas

And, the bottom 10:

41. Missouri
42. Michigan
43. Arkansas
44. Tennessee
45. Alabama
46. Mississippi
47. Ohio
48. Indiana
49. Kentucky
50. West Virginia
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