HEALTHY LIVING
02/20/2014 08:50 am ET Updated Feb 20, 2014

The State With The Highest Well-Being (And No, It's Not Hawaii)

If you want to know the state highest in well-being, you might want to think "rolling plains" instead of "white sand beaches."

According to the results of a new Gallup-Healthways report, North Dakota ranked No. 1 in the nation in 2013 for well-being, inching Hawaii out of the top spot it's held for the last four years. Hawaii is now the No. 8 state for well-being.

"A lot of people who don't pay close attention North Dakota may not realize this, but North Dakota is a high well-being state -- it's been a top 10 finisher most years, and a top five finisher for a couple of years," Dan Witters, the author of the report and research director of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, told HuffPost. "So, it was not a shock or big surprise to see it knock off Hawaii [from the top spot]. They've got a lot of good things going."

Witters explained that the oil boom in the state, for instance, has fueled job creation. "Not only does that lend a buoyancy to things like basic access and fewer people who don't have enough money for food, shelter and medicine, but it also drives emotional health and life evaluation," Witters said.

So what explains Hawaii's fall from the top spot?

While Hawaii is still considered high in well-being compared to the rest of the country, Witters said, the state experienced a significant drop in the sub-index of work environment. This metric specifically measured job satisfaction, ability to use strengths at work, treatment by your supervisor, and having an open and trusting work environment. There were slight decreases in the ability to use strengths at work and working in an open and trusting environment, and a nearly 13 percent drop in measures of supervisor treatment.

Hawaii also had a drop in the life evaluation sub-index, which involved asking about the present life situation and the perceived life situation for five years from now, as well as the emotional health sub-index, which involved experiencing emotions such as stress, worry, happiness and anger "yesterday."

The results of the survey -- which has been conducted on a state level each year since 2008 -- are based on 176,000 interviews with U.S. adults from January to December 2013. For the U.S. on a whole, the well-being score was 66.2 in 2013, compared with 66.7 in 2012.

Top 10 States For Well-Being
1. North Dakota
north dakota
North Dakota scored a 70.4 in the Well-Being Index. It also scored the top of all the states in two sub-indexes: physical health and work environment.

2. South Dakota
South Dakota scored a 70.0 in the Well-Being Index. This is the first time South Dakota has appeared in the top 10 states for well-being since 2010.

3. Nebraska
Nebraska scored a 69.7 in the Well-Being Index. It scored higher than all other states in the life evaluation sub-index, and also had a 1.9-point improvement in the Well-Being Index from 2010.

3. Minnesota
minnesota
Minnesota tied with Nebraska for third place, with a 69.7 in the Well-Being Index.

5. Montana
Montana scored a 69.3. It also had a 2-point improvement in the Well-Being Index from 2010.

6. Vermont
Vermont scored a 69.1 in the Well-Being Index. It scored higher than all other states in the healthy behaviors sub-index, and had a 2-point improvement in the Well-Being Index from 2010.

7. Colorado
denver colorado
Colorado scored a 68.9 in the Well-Being Index.

8. Hawaii
Hawaii scored a 68.4.

9. Washington
Washington scored a 68.3 in the Well-Being Index. This is the first time Washington has appeared in the top 10 states for well-being since 2008.

10. Iowa
Iowa scored a 68.2 in the Well-Being Index. It had a 1.3-point improvement in the Well-Being Index from 2010.

Bottom 10 States For Well-Being
1. West Virginia
west virginia
West Virginia scored a 61.4 in the Well-Being Index. It also scored the lowest on five sub-indexes: life evaluation, emotional health, physical health, healthy behaviors and basic access.

2. Kentucky
Kentucky scored a 63.0 in the Well-Being Index.

3. Mississippi
Mississippi scored a 63.7 in the Well-Being Index. This state also scored the lowest on the sub-index of work environment. However, it did show a 0.7-point improvement in well-being score from 2010.

4. Alabama
alabama
Alabama scored a 64.1 in the Well-Being Index.

5. Ohio
Ohio scored a 64.2.

6. Arkansas
Arkansas scored a 64.3 in the Well-Being Index.

6. Tennessee
tennessee
Tennessee tied with Arkansas for the No. 6 spot, with a score of 64.3.

8. Missouri
Missouri scored a 64.5 in the Well-Being Index.

9. Oklahoma
Oklahoma scored a 64.7.

10. Louisiana
louisiana
Louisiana scored a 64.9 in the Well-Being Index.

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