Special Report

The Happiest States in America

Happiness is not an easy concept to measure. It is influenced by different factors that vary from person to person. It may frequently change, depending on an endless set of dynamic circumstances, including social, financial, and health status — each of which may also depend on personal preference. While the emotion may be difficult to quantify, some general factors that tend to lead to better overall well-being are easier to measure.

24/7 Tempo reviewed the 2019 Gallup Well-Being Index, which is based on responses from more than 115,000 U.S. adults aged 18 and older. It is intended to capture how people feel about their lives and what they experience on a daily basis. The index consists of five categories: social relationships, financial security, relationship to community, physical health, and career prospects. (These are the 25 highest paying jobs.)

The overall well-being in the United States has been in steady decline since 2016. “It dropped substantially in 2017 and a little further in 2018, despite improvements in the economy,” said Dan Witters, research director for the Gallup National Health and Well-Being Index. “In 2017, 21 states showed decline in well-being and no state improved — we had never seen anything like that,” he said.

Last year was much more balanced, but it also slightly worsened compared to 2017, he noted For example, Hawaii’s well-being score declined somewhat from the previous year. Despite this, the state is No. 1 in this year’s ranking, up from No. 3 in last year’s ranking, Witter noted. This shows that the well-being of many other states worsened significantly, he noted.

The factors that played the biggest role in this year’s ranking were based around relationships, Witters said. Exercise and smoking indicators improved a little, obesity and diabetes remained unchanged, but emotional and social well-being worsened, he noted. “Depression rates are up and so is daily stress and worry.” Having a sense of purpose as well as getting positive energy from friends and family worsened significantly, too, Witters added. On a global scale, these are the happiest countries in the world.

Click here to see the 20 happiest states in America.
Click here for our detailed findings.

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