How would you define happiness? Is it a personal sense of achievement, does it relate to emotional balance, or a pleasant work environment? Defining the term “happiness” is somewhat of a tricky endeavor, but experts at Gallup take on this difficult task each and every when they compile their list of the happiest states in the US. Gallup, a research and consultancy company, evaluates the 50 American states, according to a wellbeing algorithm that takes into account six major indicators: life evaluation, work environment, emotional health, physical health, access to basic necessities, and healthy behaviors. According to these indicators, each state receives a score, called the wellbeing index score, which is then used to rank them in order. Based on their statistics we would like to present you with a list we have compiled of the top 10 happiest states in the US.
According to the 2013 data collected by Gallup, North Dakota emerged as the happiest state in the US, claiming the number one spot from Hawaii, the state that leads the countdown for four years in a row. But what has made North Dakota move up? Apart from receiving the highest score of any state in two categories – physical health and work environment – North Dakota had several other things for it in 2013. For one, it is one of the few states in the country to experience a significant growth of the job market. For 5 years consecutively, employee perception regarding the creation of new jobs has been the highest in North Dakota. In addition, a booming of the oil industry has done wonders for North Dakota.
Hawaii, on the other hand, fell all the way to the 8th spot. Even though Gallup does not analyze why wellbeing scores change, their report seems to indicate that Hawaii residents are no longer as satisfied with their workplaces as they used to be in the pass. According to Dan Witters, head of the research department at Gallup, Hawaiians no longer feel that they work in a trustful environment and tend to be less optimistic regarding their futures, compared to past years. In addition, stress levels have also risen for Hawaiian residents.
South Dakota emerged as 2013’s runner up, making the top ten for the first time in 4 years. At the other end of the spectrum we have West Virginia and Kentucky, who have scored as the least happy states out of the whole country for five years consecutively.
Wondering which other states have made it on this year’s list? Let’s take a look at the countdown.