If you’d like to talk to the happiest citizens in the U.S. about what they’re doing right, consider initiating the conversation with “Aloha.”
Hawaii residents ranked No. 1 for the highest well-being in the nation, according to the Gallup-Healthways State Wellbeing Report for 2016. This the sixth time the island state reached the top slot since Gallup and Healthways began the report in 2008.
Gallup conducted phone interviews with more than 177,000 people across the 50 states and Washington, D.C. to complete a representative sample population and reach their conclusion.
The researchers asked interviewees about five different aspects of their life and asked questions related to each category:
1. Purpose: Do you like what you do each day and are you motivated to achieve your goals?
2. Social: Do you have supportive relationships and love in your life?
3. Financial: Do you manage your economic life in a way to reduce stress and increase financial security?
4. Community: Do you like where you live, feel safe and have pride in your community?
5. Physical: Do you have good health and enough energy to get things done easily?
Dan Witters, research director of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, says that happiness and well-being can start at a personal level and ripple outwards, to families and entire communities.
“The lowest unit of measure is the individual,” Witters told The Huffington Post. “We are all ultimately responsible for ourselves for a life well lived.”
But Witters also stressed that some states are consistent bottom performers for well-being ― looking at you, Mississippi! ― and that corporations and local governments should take note and use the report’s data to create happier workplaces and friendlier neighborhoods.
More positive trends from the report include an historically low national smoking rate, which dropped to 18 percent this year from 21.1 percent in 2008. There was also an increase in the number of people who said they exercise one to three days a week for 30 minutes or more, which is just on target with the national guidelines for physical activity.
It wasn’t all good news, though. Chronic diseases, such as obesity and diabetes, are higher today than in 2008, according to the report. And more people are diagnosed with depression today than ever before, the researchers wrote.
Below is a breakdown of the best and worst ranked states from the 2016 data:
Top 10 States For Well-Being
Hawaii scored a 65.2 on the Well-Being Index, notching the most residents who report feeling a sense of community, financial security and in great physical health.
Alaska scored a 64 in the Well-Being Index, placing in the top two for the third consecutive year.
3. South Dakota
South Dakota scored a 63.7 in the Well-Being Index, ranking high in purpose, financial and community elements.
Maine scored a 63.6 in the Well-Being Index. The state was particularly strong in reporting great physical well-being.
Colorado scored 63.5 in the Well-Being Index, finishing in the top 10 for the ninth straight year.
Vermont also scored a 63.5 in the Well-Being Index. The state’s highest scores came from reports of good social, physical and community elements.
Arizona scored a 63.4 in the Well-Being Index and fell in the top three states for social and purpose categories.
Montana scored a 63.2 in the Well-Being Index. The state is consistently in the top 10.
Minnesota scored a 63.2 in the Well-Being Index, coming in strong in the financial and community categories.
Texas scored a 63.1 in the Well-Being Index, bumping its position into the top 10 after ranking lower over the last few years.
Bottom States For Well-Being
Mississippi scored a 61.3 in the Well-Being Index and is one of five states to consistently place in the bottom 10 for well-being. The state’s obesity rate is the highest in the nation at 36.8 percent, outpacing the national average of 28.5 percent, the researchers noted in the report.
2. Rhode Island
Rhode Island scored a 61.3 in the Well-Being Index as well, appearing for the first time ever in the bottom 10.
Louisiana scored a 61.0 in the Well-Being Index and also has one of the highest rates of obesity at 32.7 percent.
Alabama scored a 61 in the Well-Being Index. This southern state ranked among the lowest for residents who feel financially secure and physically fit.
Ohio scored a 60.9 in the Well-Being Index and has consistently ranked in the bottom 10 since the report’s inception in 2008.
Arkansas scored a 60.8 in the Well-Being Index, scoring among the lowest for residents who feel supported through community and physically fit.
Indiana scored a 60.5 in the Well-Being Index. The midwestern state reported statistically low satisfaction in purpose and social elements.
Oklahoma scored a 60.5 in the Well-Being Index as well, ranking among the lowest for three elements of well-being: social support, financial security and feeling physically fit.
Kentucky scored a 60.5 in the Well-Being Index as the state with the second-lowest sense of overall wellbeing in the nation, as reported by the survey’s participants.
10. West Virginia
West Virginia scored a 58.9 in the Well-Being Index. The state ranks the lowest in three of the five categories of well-being: physical, financial and purpose.
Where does your state rank in the list? Head over to Gallup for the full report.
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