America’s Happiest (and Most Miserable) States

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6. Montana
> Well-being index score: 68.5
> Life expectancy: 78.4 years (24th lowest)
> Obesity: 22.0% (3rd lowest)
> Median household income: $44,222 (13th lowest)
> Adult population with high school diploma or higher: 92.3% (the highest)

Montana appears to have a healthy, well-educated workforce. The state has low unemployment and the highest proportion of adults with a high school degree in the country. State residents were among the most likely to report being in a good work environment. Over 92% of individuals surveyed said they were satisfied with their jobs or the work they did, more than in any other state. Additionally, over 60% stated they felt treated like a partner by their supervisor, higher than all but one other state. Residents also practiced healthy behavior and were more likely than residents of nearly all other states to exercise 30 minutes a day for three days each week. Montanans were among the most likely Americans to eat five servings of fruit and vegetables at least four times a week — even though residents were also among the most likely to claim that finding affordable fruits and vegetables was difficult.

Also Read: America’s Most And Least Literate Cities

7. Nebraska
> Well-being index score: 68.5
> Life expectancy: 79.2 years (21st highest)
> Obesity: 27.9% (18th highest)
> Median household income: $50,296 (22nd highest)
> Adult population with high school diploma or higher: 91.0% (7th highest)

When it comes to making healthy choices, Nebraska is actually among the worst states in the country. In only one other state did a smaller percentage of those surveyed report eating a healthy amount of fruits and vegetables. The state also performed poorly in the exercise category, with nearly 49% of residents not exercising a healthy amount each week. Despite this, Nebraska residents were in the top 10 for physical health. While the state predictably had issues with certain conditions such as diabetes and obesity, state residents were rarely kept out of work due to physical ailments, and they reported feeling well rested. This might be explained by the low workplace stress levels residents experienced. A full 92% of residents reported being satisfied with their job, and 72.7% were worry-free the previous day, both among the best rates in the country.

8. New Hampshire
> Well-being index score: 68.4
> Life expectancy: 79.7 years (12th highest)
> Obesity: 25.1% (17th lowest)
> Median household income: $62,647 (6th highest)
> Adult population with high school diploma or higher: 91.4% (6th highest)

New Hampshire scored higher than nearly all states in terms of basic access to necessities. Almost 88% of survey respondents in the state said they had a personal doctor, higher than all but three states and well above the 78.3% of people across the country who answered yes to that question. Furthermore, 73.1% of residents said they had visited a dentist within the past 12 months, a higher percentage than all states except for Connecticut and Massachusetts. The low poverty rate of just 8.8% may explain why more of these residents have access to quality health care. The state also ranked seventh highest in terms of healthy behaviors. For instance, nearly 62% of respondents reported they had five or more servings of fruits and vegetables in four of the past seven days, the third highest of all states.

9. Iowa
> Well-being index score: 68.1
> Life expectancy: 79.68 (15th highest)
> Obesity: 29.0% (10th highest)
> Median household income: $49,427 (24th highest)
> Adult population with high school diploma or higher: 90.6% (10th highest)

Iowa ranked behind only Massachusetts and Minnesota in the basic access to necessities category. Almost all residents felt they had access to clean water, while more than 83% felt safe walking alone at night — both among the best in that category. Further, more than 85% of Iowans stated they could afford food at all times over the preceding 12 months — well above the 81.6% for the U.S. overall. Nearly 94% felt they could afford shelter at all times as well, a figure that trails only New Hampshire and South Dakota. Iowans are also among the happiest with their work environments, generally feeling that they are satisfied by their jobs, treated well by their bosses, and using their strengths. However, residents were also more likely to smoke and less likely to eat healthily than the average American.

10. Massachusetts
> Well-being index score: 68.1
> Life expectancy: 80.1 (6th highest)
> Obesity: 21.5% (2nd lowest)
> Median household income: $62,859 (5th highest)
> Adult population with high school diploma or higher: 89.2% (19th highest)

Massachusetts residents feel things are moving in the right direction for them, expressing a high degree of optimism. Massachusetts residents also had better access to resources ensuring their well-being. The state had the highest health insurance coverage rate in the country, together with the fifth-highest median income in 2011, less than 15% of residents reported being unable to pay for health care. However, the state did not do so well in terms of emotional health, scoring seventh worst in the country. Nearly 35% of respondents reported feeling worry in a given day, a higher percentage than all but four states.

Click here to see America’s Most Miserable States