The Happiest States in the U.S.

Cailey Rizzo

For the sixth time, Hawaii was named the happiest state in the country, according to a Gallup poll.

Alaska was ranked the second-happiest state in the country for the third consecutive year, and Colorado was ranked in the top 10 happiest states for the ninth year in a row—the only other state besides Hawaii to do so.

West Virginia and Kentucky, for the eighth year in a row, were named the two unhappiest states.

The data is based on interviews with 177,000 adults across the country, wherein they were asked questions about their lifestyles. Gallup then determined a “well-being score” based on respondents’ views on their social lives, finances, community, motivation, and physicality.

Happiness around the country tends to follow a regional pattern: States with more access to nature generally tended to be happier in Gallup’s poll.

The happiest states are those outside of the continental U.S. Next happiest are states in the Northern Plains and the Mountain West. The states with the lowest well-being scores are in the South and industrial Midwest. For the complete list, and not just the top and bottom 10, head over to Gallup.

However, for everybody who reflected on 2016 and considered it a miserable year, the well-being score for the entire country went up 0.4 points, which Gallup calls a “statistically meaningful improvement.” But there are some complications in the data: More Americans than ever consider their lives to be “thriving” and the amount of people living without health insurance dropped to the lowest it’s been in the poll’s history—but adults diagnosed with depression, diabetes and obesity reached its highest point.

For those that want to make 2017 their happiest year yet, the best move is to get outdoors.

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1. Hawaii

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1. Hawaii

2. Alaska

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2. Alaska

3. South Dakota

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3. South Dakota

4. Maine

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4. Maine

5. Colorado

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5. Colorado

6. Vermont

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6. Vermont

7. Arizona

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7. Arizona

8. Montana

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8. Montana

9. Minnesota

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9. Minnesota

10. Texas

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10. Texas

And now for the least happy…

41. Mississippi

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11. Mississippi

42. Rhode Island

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12. Rhode Island

43. Louisiana

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13. Louisiana

44. Alabama

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14. Alabama

45. Ohio

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15. Ohio

46. Arkansas

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16. Arkansas

47. Indiana

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17. Indiana

48. Oklahoma

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18. Oklahoma

49. Kentucky

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19. Kentucky

50. West Virginia

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20. West Virginia

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