Hawaii’s natural advantages continue to mask its political failings.
by Elizabeth Mendes http://www.gallup.com
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Residents of Hawaii led the nation in wellbeing in the first half of 2010, holding onto their 2009 top spot and delivering the highest Well-Being Index score on record for any state since Gallup and Healthways began tracking scores in 2008. West Virginia had the lowest Well-Being Index score, as it did in 2008 and in 2009.
For a list of Well-Being Index scores for all 50 states, see page 2.
During the first six months of 2010, the Well-Being Index score for the nation as a whole was 67.0, up significantly from 65.9 in 2009 and 2008. U.S. wellbeing has been inching up on a monthly basis throughout 2010, with the increases primarily driven by Americans' improved ratings of their current and future lives. And while the midyear state Well-Being Index scores provide a preliminary reading ahead of the year-long rankings, so far in 2010 the large majority of states are trending in a positive direction compared with 2009.
These results are based on an aggregate of January-June 2010 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index data, which includes interviews with more than 170,000 adults nationwide in all 50 states, excluding the District of Columbia.
Nine of the 12 states in the top 10 in wellbeing are located in the West and Midwest, as they were in prior years. And half of the bottom 10 wellbeing states are in the South: Mississippi, Kentucky, Arkansas, Alabama, and Tennessee.
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The Well-Being Index score for each state is an average of six sub-indexes, which individually measure Americans' life evaluation, emotional health, work environment, physical health, healthy behaviors, and access to basic necessities. The Well-Being Index is calculated on a scale of 0 to 100, where a score of 100 represents ideal wellbeing.
Residents of Hawaii have the best scores in the nation on three of the six wellbeing sub-indexes: Life Evaluation, Emotional Health, and Physical Health. Residents of Vermont boast the best healthy behavior so far in 2010, and Minnesotans are reporting the best access to basic necessities this year as they did in 2009. During the first half of the year, Nebraska held the high score on the Work Environment Index.
West Virginia maintains its worst-in-the-nation position on the Life Evaluation, Emotional Health, and Physical Health indexes. And residents in Kentucky, Mississippi, and Delaware continued to have the lowest scores in the Healthy Behavior, Basic Access, and Work Environment indexes, respectively, in America.
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For more information about what each sub-index measures, see page 3.
This story is part of a series of midyear updates on Gallup's State of the States data, to be released in July and August on Gallup.com. See the complete schedule and send your suggestion for our "readers' pick." Gallup.com will report new full-year totals in early 2011 based on all 2010 surveys.
Learn more about the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.