The 10 worst states are the only group that all touch each other.
Gathered from 178,000 interviews, the polling company Gallup and health-improvement company Healthways have released their annual report on the most (and least) soul-crushing places in America. Some of the findings are obvious; it's not surprising that West Virginia, which lost drinking water due to a huge chemical spill and is regularly coated in coal dust from the low-paying industry that dominates the state, is the least-happy camper in the Union. On the other hand, because this is based on things like how physically active people are, health, access to parks, how close communities are and how affordable everything is, North Dakota has the highest well-being of any state in America. Obviously, "number of days a year your nose may freeze off" is not a category. In fact, except for Hawaii, all the really happy states have very intense winters.
Former industrial and Deep South states all fared pretty poorly, given that access to jobs and healthy activities are limited in most of those areas. California did very well despite being a basketcase, Texas landed right in the middle due to their combination of the great outdoors and terrible health regulations, and New York, as always, enjoys life a lot less than it wants everyone to think. But then again, people move to New York to be miserable. If voluntary misery was added as a category, it would be on top (where it should be). Either that, or I really need to re-evaluate Nebraska.
Here's the full list, complete with comparisons from last year. Read the whole report on Healthways' website:
Mississippi, West Virginia, and Kentucky: are you even trying?
(by Johnny McNulty)