South Dakota and Vermont Top Gallup’s List of Happy US States

The report measures how Americans feel about their physical health, social connections, finances, community, and sense of purpose.

South Dakota
South Dakota is relatively serene and calm state.

The residents of South Dakota and Vermont are feeling happier and healthier than those in other US states, according to Gallup’s survey on well-being of Americans.

South Dakota was in the top five for financial and community well-being. Vermont residents scored highest in community and physical well-being, but also ranked among the top states for social and financial well-being.

The report measures how Americans feel about their physical health, social connections, finances, community, and sense of purpose.

Neither the sunshine state of Florida nor Silicon Valley, California has found a place in the rankings.

For the nation as a whole, the Well-Being Index score for 2017 was 61.5, a decline from 62.1 in 2016 and the largest year-over-year decline since the index began in 2008. What surprised Gallup experts is that not a single state saw a significant improvement in well-being from 2016.

Despite the national downturn, Gallup claims to have found improvements in several traditional measures of physical health, such as the proportion of Americans reporting participation in regular exercise, abstention from smoking, and being overweight.

Community well-being – defined as liking where you live, feeling safe and having pride in your community – also improved for Americans between 2016 and 2017.

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The report, based on telephone interviews with more than 160,400 adults, is meant to be a call to action for leaders to improve the quality of life for their residents.

People feeling healthy perform better while at work and will have lower healthcare utilization than their counterparts, argue analysts at Gallup.

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