The Well-Being Journal

New Research Reveals State Rankings of Well-Being Nationwide

Cameron Bowman

Emphasis on well-being by community leaders, government, employers and other population health stakeholders has never been more prominent. Well-being captures how people feel about and experience their daily lives. It is directly correlated with important business and community metrics, such as healthcare utilization and cost, and productivity measures such as absenteeism and job performance. It is an effective gauge to assess and acknowledge environments where people can live their best lives and do their best work.

With the release of a new report from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index®, you can gain new insight into the state of well-being across the nation.

2015_State_Rankings_Thumbnail.jpg

The report, “State of American Well-Being: 2015 State Rankings”, provides an overview of well-being trends within the United States. As in prior years, well-being in the U.S. exhibits regional patterns. The northern plains and mountain west are higher well-being areas, along with some western states and pockets of the northeast and Atlantic.  The lowest well-being states are in the south and move north through the industrial Midwest.

Hawaii reclaimed the top well-being spot among all states in the U.S. with Alaska, 2014’s top state, claiming the second spot. Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota, Utah, Arizona and California rounded out the rest of the top 10. Kentucky and West Virginia continued to have the lowest well-being in the nation, ranking 49th and 50th, respectively, and have so for the past seven straight years.

To discover where other states — including yours — fall within the rankings, download a copy of the report today. You can also subscribe to content from the Well-Being Index. By subscribing, we’ll let you know when we release new research and insights from the Well-Being Index.

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index uses a holistic definition of well-being and collects self-reported data from individuals across the globe to create a unique view of societies’ progress on the elements that matter most to well-being: purpose, social, financial, community and physical. It is the most proven, mature and comprehensive measure of well-being in populations.

Topics: Well-Being Index State Rankings

New Report Based on Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index Data Provides Insight into Americans’ Financial Well-Being

Madison Agee

An often overlooked determinant of overall health, medical costs, and performance and productivity, financial well-being is of considerable strategic importance to healthcare providers, payers and plans, as well as other population health stakeholders. With the release of a new report from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index®, these stakeholders can gain new insights into the state of Americans’ financial well-being.Gallup-Healthways_State_of_American_Well-Being_2014_Financial_Rankings_vFINAL1-1

The report, “State of American Well-Being: 2014 Financial Well-Being Rankings”, provides a snapshot of financial well-being in the United States, revealing that fewer than two out of five Americans (39 percent) are thriving in financial well-being. Thriving in financial well-being does not necessarily mean that people feel like they’re earning enough money, but rather how well they feel they’re managing their economic life to reduce stress and increase security.

Those people thriving in financial well-being are less likely than those suffering or struggling to be depressed, be obese or have high blood pressure. They’re also more likely to engage in healthy behaviors such as eating fresh produce, exercising and not smoking. 

The report also provides a ranking of all 50 states based on this element. Hawaii ranks highest for financial well-being, followed by Alaska, North Dakota, Wyoming and South Dakota. Most of these states are also in the top five rankings for overall well-being, with the exception of North Dakota, which ranked 23rd in 2014 for overall well-being.

Financial well-being is lowest in Mississippi, which ranked 50th in the country. The South dominates the list of ten states with the lowest financial well-being, with Tennessee, Georgia, Louisiana and Kentucky rounding out the lowest five states.

You can read more about the rankings here and download a copy of the report here.

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index uses a holistic definition of well-being and self-reported data from individuals across the globe to create a unique view of societies’ progress on the elements that matter most to well-being: purpose, social, financial, community and physical. It is the most proven, mature and comprehensive measure of well-being in populations. Previous Gallup and Healthways research shows that high well-being closely relates to key health outcomes such as lower rates of healthcare utilization, lower workplace absenteeism and better workplace performance, change in obesity status and new onset disease burden.

To discover where other states — including yours — fall within the rankings, download a copy of the report today. You can also subscribe to content from the Well-Being Index; by subscribing, we’ll let you know when we release new reports and insights from the Well-Being Index.

Topics: Financial Well-Being Well-Being Well-Being Index State Rankings

Best and Worst Well-Being States

Jennifer Rudloff

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index® is the first-ever daily assessment of U.S. residents' health and well-being. Through interviewing at least 1,000 U.S. adults every day, the Well-Being Index provides an in-depth view of our nation's health and well-being. Each year we report on our findings at a city, state and congressional district level. To learn more about well-being where you live, click here to explore the 2011 well-being reports.

Here are some of the highs and lows we uncovered this year:

Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index: Top and Bottom States for Well-Being

To learn more about the methodology and find out what each domain measures, click here.

Topics: In the News Bottom 5 Top 5 Well-Being Index State Rankings

The State of the States: America's Well-Being Wins & Woes

Jennifer Rudloff

Holding strong to their number one position, the people of the Aloha State seemingly hold the secret to high well-being. Between the sunshine and the beaches there are people thriving in emotional health and healthy behaviors. So who else is doing it right? Alaskans see the sunny side of life and score highest in life evaluation, a measure of their current life situation and their optimism for the future. Vermont leads with healthy behaviors. Massachusetts continues to come in at the top with basic access, and residents of North Dakota are whistling while they work, coming in with the highest work environment scores.

On the other end of the well-being spectrum, we find West Virginia and Kentucky maintaining their positions as the states with the lowest well-being. The people of West Virginia continue to struggle with the lowest life evaluation and physical health. Consistent with the last 3 years, the people of the Bluegrass State perform worst in emotional health; and Mississippi residents perform lowest in the area of basic access. What is the state with the lowest work environment index score? Louisiana beat out Delaware for this title for the first time since 2009. And Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plains, unhealthy behaviors are also sweeping through the countryside.

As you can probably see from the color clusters in the map above, there are some patterns of well-being by geographical region. Chances are if you’re in the south, not so well. Eight of the eleven states with the lowest well-being are in the South. Four of the top seven states are located in the West, and five Midwestern states and three Eastern states rank in the top twelve.

STATE Well-Being
Index Score
Comparison
Hawaii 71.1 Above Average
North Dakota 70.5 Above Average
Alaska 69.4 Above Average
Nebraska 68.4 Above Average
Minnesota 68.3 Above Average
Colorado 68.3 Above Average
Utah 68.1 Above Average
Iowa 67.9 Above Average
New Hampshire 67.9 Above Average
Kansas 67.8 Above Average
Maryland 67.8 Above Average
Vermont 67.8 Above Average
Massachussetts 67.7 Above Average
South Dakota 67.6 Above Average
Virginia 67.6 Above Average
California 67.5 Above Average
Washington 67.2 Above Average
Oregon 67.2 Above Average
Montana 67.1 Average
Conneticut 66.9 Average
Arizona 66.9 Average
New Mexico 66.8 Average
Idaho 66.7 Average
Wisconsin 66.6 Average
Maine 66.6 Average
Texas 66.6 Average
New Jersey 66.5 Average
Wyoming 66.5 Average
North Carolina 66.5 Average
Rhode Island 66.2 Average
Illinois 66.2 Average
Georgia 66.2 Average
Deleware 66 Average
Nevada 65.9 Average
Pennsylvania 65.8 Below Average
Michigan 65.8 Below Average
South Carolina 65.7 Below Average
Florida 65.4 Below Average
New York 65.2 Below Average
Missouri 65.1 Below Average
Alabama 65.1 Below Average
Indiana 64.9 Below Average
Arkansas 64.9 Below Average
Oklahoma 64.8 Below Average
Tennessee 64.7 Below Average
Louisiana 64.6 Below Average
Ohio 64.4 Below Average
Mississippi 63.6 Below Average
Kentucky 63 Below Average
West Virginia 62.4 Below Average

About the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index
The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index tracks U.S. well-being and provides best-in-class solutions for a healthier world. To learn more, please visit
www.well-beingindex.com.

Topics: Well-Being Top 10 Well-Being Index Healthways State Rankings Gallup