The Well-Being Journal

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
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

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