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May 2014

Well-Being Index

Washington ranked among top 10

By NWREporter

May 2014

Washington ranked No. 9 on a new "state of well-being" index from Gallup-Healthways, improving six spots on the annual survey.

Top spot went to North Dakota, with West Virginia anchoring last place, a position it has held for the past five years.

In releasing their analysis, which was based on more than 178,000 interviews nationwide, researchers said the achievement of higher well-being for a community's citizens yields competitive advantages for economic development and job creation. "For employers, it means greater productivity and better health in the workforce and dependent families, resulting in better business performance. For individuals, it simply means living well, longer."

The rankings take into account several factors, including:

  • physical and emotional health,
  • healthy behaviors,
  • work environment, social and community factors,
  • financial security, and
  • access to necessities such as food, shelter and healthcare

The ten states with the highest well-being in the nation are (in order) North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Montana, Vermont, Colorado, Hawaii, Washington, and Iowa.

"States that score high in well-being have achieved success in creating environments where people can live their best lives, something that goes far beyond physical wellness and traditional health risk factors," explained Dan Witters, research director of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. "Individuals in these states are motivated to achieve their goals, enjoy what they do each day, feel safe and financially secure, have pride in their communities, and have the supportive relationships and good health they need to get things done each day.

In commending the top states, Witters singled out seven states (Colorado, Hawaii, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska and Vermont) for achieving the distinction of being in the top 10 for two consecutive years.

The report also noted certain states stand out for specific well-being achievements, as reported by their residents. Colorado, for example, is always at or near the best in the nation for the lowest obesity rate. Utah has the lowest smoking rate. Massachusetts residents have had the greatest access to health insurance in all six years of the rankings. New Jersey has the lowest levels of depression, and people in Vermont eat more produce than residents of any other state.

Healthways is the largest independent global provider of well-being improvement solutions. Gallup has been conducting research and analytics on consumer and employee attitudes and behaviors more than 75 years.