Alaska Tops List Of Happiest And Healthiest States

Alaska has been named the happiest and healthiest state in the nation. In 2013, the Last Frontier state held the eighth position on the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. One year later, the state climbed to the top of the list for the first time since 2008.

To compile the list, researchers interviewed 176,000 United States residents. Each participant was asked to rate their happiness and health on a scale of 0 to 100. The categories include social life, financial stability, physical well-being, community involvement, and purpose in life.

USA Today reports that Alaska has ranked in the top ten four times since 2008. However, 2014 is the first year the state reached number one. Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index Research Director Dan Witters explains how Alaska became the nation’s happiest and healthiest state.

“They do a lot of the blocking and tackling, as far as taking care of themselves and making good choices, but also demonstrating good holistic well-being in ways that extend beyond the conventional physical wellness.”

Although Alaska was ranked the happiest and healthiest state, researchers noted that the entire nation has experienced a general increase in well-being. In 2014, the Gallup Standard of Living Index reached a seven year high.

As reported by Gallup, more than 80 percent of those surveyed report being “satisfied” with their standard of living. More than 60 percent reported that their standard of living is improving.

The researchers identified 11 states that have consistently placed high on the Well-Bring Index. Colorado and Hawaii have been in the top 10 for the last seven years straight. Alaska, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, and Wyoming have reached the top ten a minimum of three times since 2008.

In stark contrast, Arkansas, Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia have remained at the bottom of the list for seven years straight. Although the lower scores are discouraging, federal and state officials can use to the data to focus on improving those states.

Although the Well-Being Index was introduced in 2008, researchers said the 2014 scores “are not directly comparable to the scores from prior years because they are calculated using the revised instrument and scoring methodology.” However, the 2014 results seem to follow patterns noted in prior years.

This is the first time Alaska was ranked the nations happiest and healthiest state, but researchers said the honor is well-deserved.

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