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.
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.
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