Don’t Worry, Be Happy: Dakotas Top List for Well-Being

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If you’re happy and you know it … you might live in the Dakotas.

A new study from Gallup-Healthways said North Dakota residents had the highest well-being in the U.S. last year, followed by neighboring South Dakota.

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, which measures the physical and emotional health of Americans, is based on interviews with more than 178,000 people across all 50 states. According to Gallup-Healthways, they examine “Americans’ perceptions on topics such as physical and emotional health, healthy behaviors, work environment, social and community factors, financial security, and access to necessities such as food, shelter and health care to create a composite well-being rank for each state.”

The study indicates that top well-being states most likely have residents who exercise, don’t smoke, and try to better themselves. Colorado, Hawaii, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska and Vermont have been in the top 10 for well-being for two years in a row.

The states at the bottom are more likely to have residents with unhealthy behaviors and a lack of access to basic necessities. West Virginia and Kentucky remained at the bottom of the list for the fifth consecutive year.

Says financial news and opinion blog 24/7 Wall St.:

Well-being matters because it effectively reflects health, employment, education, and the local environment, Dan Witters, research director of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, told 24/7 Wall St. Witters suggested that this means that a strong economy and a healthy, educated workforce can improve well-being, just as high well-being may also influence further development.

Dr. James E. Pope, senior vice president and chief science officer at Healthways, said evaluating and improving well-being are important to employers, health care organizations and governments, reports MarketWatch. “Achieving high levels of well-being is a strategic imperative for all types of organizations because it unlocks economic value on so many levels. In short, healthier people cost less and perform better,” Pope said.

What is your state’s well-being? Find out by clicking here.

What do you think about the results of the Gallup-Healthways well-being survey? Share your thoughts below or on our Facebook page.

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  • AMA Dumi

    I live in South Dakota. I believe the article and the people who made the survey are very much misinformed or uninformed. South Dakota has suicides, drunk driving mortality, high infant and fetal mortality, diabetes and obesity. Some people do meth, smoke and drink. This place is riddled with a lot of physician assistants and not enough good and caring doctors. I believe the survey was focused on retired Caucasians, hunters and fishermen, and those who reside in cities like Sioux Falls, Rapid City, Mitchell, and Pierre S.D. What the survey forgot to get was information from the rural areas. Most people need a second job if they can get it. I do believe last year an education poll gave South Dakota grade of ‘d.’ South Dakota in most areas is a desert of many names because a person has to go more than 20 miles to get to a hospital or get decent food. And if a person were to have an heart attack or a complicated pregnancy or any other emergency, the ride to a high risk facility is 2.5 hours away. Most areas of the state don’t have a proper transportation system to go get groceries or go to a doctor’s appointment. Most people, animals, and environment are depressed, I think. I do believe that is why Laura Ingalls left South Dakota. I’m more worried than happy in South Dakota. I can not clap my hands and I know it in South Dakota.
    Vermont is not like South Dakota. For a small state with almost the same amount of population, it strives and wants to be in the top with medical and nutrition. I lived there and had a baby there. I have seen more caring doctors in Vermont. People go to the doctors in Vermont as sometimes I could not get an appointment because they were booked. There is more to do physically in Vermont than South Dakota. I believe with all of my heart that the quality of life is better in Vermont than South Dakota.