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Natural Awakenings

Smile Factor: Which States Have the Happiest People?

Apr 13, 2011 07:18PM

A telephone survey conducted from January 1 through December 31, 2010, randomly sampling the view of more than 350,000 U.S. adults, shows that Hawaii ranks in first place in terms of residents’ happiness, earning a rating of 71 on a 100-point scale. Other winners in the Top 10 happiness sweepstakes are Wyoming, North Dakota, Alaska, Colorado, Minnesota, South Dakota, Utah, Connecticut and Nebraska. Even West Virginia, which ranked last, earned 61.7 points.

The survey, conducted by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, looked at six categories of well-being. These included life evaluation (self-evaluation about one’s present life situation and what is anticipated in five years); emotional health; work environment (such as job satisfaction); physical health; healthy behavior; and basic access to services like health care, a safe place to walk and community.

“When human beings give you an answer on a numerical scale about how satisfied they are with their lives, it is best to pay attention,” comments Andrew Oswald of the University of Warwick, UK, based on his 2008 findings from a similar survey of 1.3 million Americans. “Their answers are reliable.”

For the rankings of all 50 states, see For the daily national happiness index, see

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