Lonely Planet Writer

Hawaii named best state in the USA for well-being for a sixth time

There are many reasons to visit Hawaii. Aside from its stunning sunsets, beautiful beaches and wild, untamed volcanoes, a new poll has named it as the best state for well-being in the US, making it the sixth time that Hawaii has scooped that title.

Hawaii was named the best state in the US for well-being for the sixth time. Image by Matt Munro

The results come from research-based consulting company Gallup, who have been conducting the poll in association with Healthways every year since 2008. The data is based on more than 177,000 interviews with adults across all 50 states and works on a well-being index that is calculated on a scale of 0 to 100. The index comprised of questions measuring five specific elements linked to well-being. These were purpose, such as liking what you do every day and being motivated to achieve goals, social support and relationships, financial security and economic stress, community-feel, and physical health and energy.

Alaska was in the top two states for well-being for the third year in a row. Image by Justin Foulkes

Hawaii came out with the highest well-being scores in three of the five well-being elements investigated. Alaska was in the top two states for well-being for the third straight year, while West Virginia came in as the lowest state for the eighth year in a row. Colorado also finished in the top ten for the ninth year straight, while Kentucky came in the second-lowest position. The index showed a score of 62.1 for the nation overall in 2016, a statistically meaningful improvement from the 61.7 measured in 2015. The results seem to follow a regional pattern, as outside of Hawaii and Alaska, the states with the highest well-being in 2016 were located in the Northern Plains and the Mountain West, in addition to pockets of the north-east and south-west. The states with the lowest well-being are found in the south and the industrial mid-west. However, Florida ranked among the top 12 states for well-being for the second year in a row, despite being located in the south.

West Virginia finished lowest in the poll for the eight consecutive year.
West Virginia finished lowest in the poll for the eight consecutive year. Image by MarkVanDykePhotography

The survey showed the number of Americans rating their lives well enough to be classified as “thriving” reached a record high of 55.4%. It also showed that the percentage of people without health insurance fell to 10.9%, its lowest measured level. The adult smoking rate also dropped to 18%, down from 21.1% at the onset of the well-being index eight years ago.

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