Alaska leads the nation as the state with the best well-being. According to the most recent Gallup Well-Being report, people may want to start considering moving to the frozen tundra of Alaska for a better outlook on life and a better state of well-being. The data for the survey was collected from 175,000 individual interviews over the duration of 2014, measuring five categories: community, physical health, financial status, social support, and purpose. Incredibly, Alaska was only state in the country to have a top-10 rating in all five categories.
Janet Calhoun, senior vice president of strategy, solutions, and innovations for the Healthways survey, explained all five elements are interrelated and when combined they show how much potential someone can have residing in a particular state. Furthermore, she said rather than conducting a survey on physical health and traditional programs within communities, they took a multifaceted approach towards calculating the well-being within the state’s population.
Unsurprisingly, Hawaii ranked second on the survey, consistently being known as one of the happiest states in the nation, followed closely by South Dakota. Unfortunately, for both Kentucky and West Virginia, they were ranked number 49 and 50, respectively, as the states with the lowest well-being.
The researchers closely examined well-being as either suffering, struggling, or thriving based on life assessment tests. Dan Witter, a research director for the survey, stated 54.1 percent of Alaskans were classified as “thriving” – the highest percentage in the seven-year history of the reporting.
Alaska’s top spot on the survey shows the report is a good indicator that general well-being is not just a seemingly intangible, new-age notion about an optimal life. Although maintaining physical well-being is very important, the research finding show that maintaining an emotionally healthy life is imperative. The importance of a holistically sound well-being is more than just a theory. If people only strive for a great physical appearance, they are leaving a large part of their potential behind, mental health is now seeing more of the spotlight, he said.
In its seventh consecutive year as being the leader in well-being improvement surveys, Healthways ranked Alaska as having the best well-being and West Virginia as a dismal 50th in well-being for the sixth year in a row. Some are surprised that Alaska came in first, after all, it is very cold and very far away from most places in the United States. However, the survey found that those who reside in Alaska create tight-knit communities and truly value helping others and improving their own mental health and outlook on life.
The 2014 survey was compromised of nearly 177,000 nationwide interviews. The survey went beyond the façade of physical appearance and health and captured the true self of Americans and how they feel about their potential and outlook on life. These factors of community, physical health, financial status, social support, and purpose have created a well-formed picture of each state, especially Alaska. Considering Alaska ranked number one in the survey, with a top-10 rating in all five categories, Witter said the rest of the country may be looking to Alaska to improve on their own well-being.
By: Alex Lemieux
Picture: blmiers2 – Flickr License