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The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index Determines Happiest and Most Miserable States in America


Do you live in the most miserable state in America? If you answered, "Probably, because the Pizza Hut in my town was shut down after an employee relieved himself in its kitchen sink," then you are correct, West Virginia resident!

Well-being improvement firm Healthways and polling pros Gallup have recently named the Mountain State as the most miserable in their 2013 Well-Being Index. The results were determined through interviews with more than 178,000 Americans over the course of the last year, which centered on factors including (but not limited to) education, employment, access to basic needs and levels of physical and emotion health. Therefore, West Virginia residents played a large role in ranking themselves last (50th) when it comes to well-being, putting them behind Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama and Ohio (49th, 48th, 47th and 46th, respectively).

It's also the fifth consecutive year West Virginia has found itself in this exact position.

On the other hand, North Dakota was named the most content of all 50 states, with South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota and Montana rounding out the top five.

Dan Witters, a researcher for the Index, explained to 24/7 Wall Street that residents in the top states were often less likely to smoke and more likely to exercise, whereas those in the lower-scoring states were more prone to high blood pressure and feeling generally unhealthy overall.

Predictably, it also turns out that money matters to well-being. "For the most part, well-being goes up with income," said Witters. "Emotional health scores kind of hit their peak at about $75,000 a year," he claimed, adding that after $75K, those scores "don't really get any better."

Where did your state fall in the 2013 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index? Click here to find out.