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Raising Kids in the Happiest States: 2010 List

50 states, usa states

Happy with life in the happiest state!

If you’re happy and you know it and you really want to show it, well, we’ll just assume you don’t live in West Virginia. Because West Virginians, according to a survey conducted , in part, by Gallup (a group that knows something about surveying), are the least happy people in the U.S.

Kentucky was just behind (or is it in front of?) West Virginia in terms of relative happiness/misery.

The happiest state in 2010?

That’s Hawaii. Followed by Wyoming, North Dakota, Alaska and Colorado. (There goes the better weather hypothesis!)

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index is an annual survey conducted over a year. In 2010, they interviewed 352,840 people who were at least 18 years old questions that fell into five different categories, as LiveScience explains:

[L]ife evaluation (self-evaluation about your present life situation and anticipated one in five years); emotional health; work environment (such as job satisfaction); physical health; healthy behavior; and basic access (access to health care, a doctor, a safe place to exercise and walk, as well as community satisfaction)

The numbers were crunched and each state was given a score out of 100 points.

Here‘s the list of states, along with their scores.

1.     Hawaii: 71.0

2.     Wyoming: 69.2

3.     North Dakota: 68.4

4.     Alaska: 68.3

5.     Colorado: 68.0

6.     Minnesota: 68.0

7.     South Dakota: 68.0

8.     Utah: 67.9

9.     Connecticut: 67.9

10.  Massachusetts: 67.8

11.  Nebraska: 67.8

12.  Maryland: 67.5

13.  Washington: 67.5

14.  Montana: 67.3

15.  Kansas: 67.2

16.  New Hampshire: 67.2

17.  Vermont: 67.1

18.  California: 67.0

19.  Iowa: 66.9

20.  Idaho: 66.9

21.  New Mexico: 66.7

22.  Virginia: 66.7

23.  Wisconsin: 66.7

24.  New Jersey: 66.6

25.  Maine: 66.4

26.  Illinois: 66.3

27.  Oregon: 66.3

28.  Texas: 66.3

29.  Arizona: 66.2

30.  Pennsylvania: 66.1

31.  Georgia: 66.1

32.  New York: 65.9

33.  Rhode Island: 65.7

34.  Missouri: 65.6

35.  South Carolina: 65.3

36.  North Carolina: 65.1

37.  Florida: 65.1

38.  Oklahoma: 64.9

39.  Indiana: 64.8

40.  Tennessee: 64.8

41.  Michigan: 64.6

42.  Louisiana: 64.3

43.  Delaware: 64.2

44.  Nevada: 64.2

45.  Ohio: 63.8

46.  Alabama: 63.7

47.  Arkansas: 63.7

48.  Mississippi: 63.0

49.  Kentucky: 61.9

50.  West Virginia: 61.7

Notice that less than one point differentiated many of the states, but the happiest state — Hawaii, outscored least-happy West Virginia by only 9.1 points. So either we Americans aren’t all that happy, or maybe we’re not all that unhappy. Interpretation is kind of a glass half-empty or half-full thing.

Or maybe the conclusions you draw depend on where you’re from.

Do you live in a super-happy state? (Answer can be based on geography or disposition, whichever).

Photo: theogeo via flickr

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