Poll: North Dakotans Lead the Nation in 'Well-Being'; W. Va. Last

February 20, 2014 - 10:45 AM

(CNSNews.com) - "Almost heaven" is how the late singer John Denver described West Virginia. But maybe not, according to a new survey from the Gallup poll people.

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index found that North Dakota residents had the highest well-being in the nation in 2013, followed by South Dakota.

The Dakotas -- boosted by fracking in recent years -- bumped out Hawaii, which held the top spot for the previous four years. West Virginia and Kentucky had the two lowest well-being scores for the fifth year in a row.

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index scores the states, and the nation, on a scale of 0 to 100. The number is derived by averaging six categories, including life evaluation, emotional health, work environment, physical health, healthy behaviors, and access to basic necessities.

For the nation as a whole, the Well-Being Index score dipped slightly in 2013 to 66.2 from 66.7 in 2012, and it matches the previous low, measured in 2011.

Nevertheless, Gallup concluded that overall well-being in the U.S. and within the states has been fairly steady since 2008, when the index began.

Well-Being Index: Top 10 States in 2013

North Dakota (70.4%)
South Dakota
Nebraska
Minnesota
Montana
Vermont
Colorado
Hawaii
Washington
Iowa

Well-Being Index: Bottom 10 States in 2013

West Virginia (61.4%)
Kentucky
Mississippi
Alabama
Ohio
Arkansas
Tennessee
Missouri
Oklahoma
Louisiana

Results are based on telephone interviews conducted Jan. 2-Dec. 29, 2013, with a random sample of 178,072 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.