Utah Tops Survey of Well-Being in U.S.
Hawaii and Wyoming Residents Also Say They're Happy; West Virginia Ranks Last
People also were asked about general levels of life satisfaction, whether they were "able to use their strengths at work, about food, and shelter," Harter says.
William Custer, director of the Center for Health Services Research at Georgia State University, who tracks health conditions nationwide, says Utah is "a healthy state and that may affect their top ranking."
But Utah residents, according to Georgia State University data, have low access to health care relative to people in most states "because they are so rural," Custer tells WebMD.
Gallup says on its web site that the rankings should be used to evaluate the nation's relative health and prosperity, as well as feelings of well-being.
"This project will shine a light on often overlooked issues affecting the American people, including disparities in access to care and barriers to healthy lifestyles," Karen Ignagni, president and chief executive of America's Health Insurance Plans, says in a news release.
Marlow, whose native state of Georgia ranks 23rd on the well-being scale, says his only mistake was "not moving out here a long time ago. It's a real good place to spend my senior years."
Pam Perlich, an economist at the University of Utah who moved to Salt Lake City from Tulsa, Okla., in 1986, also gushes about the state.
"The quality of life is wonderful," she says. "I am every day struck with the beauty of the place."
And Rob Jones, manager of the university's outdoor recreation program who moved to Salt Lake City 17 years ago from northern California, says he wouldn't live anywhere else. "It's gorgeous, we have wonderful medical centers, and my job is a good gig to have."
State-by-State Well-Being Rankings
Here are well-being rankings for the U.S.
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- New Jersey
- South Carolina
- North Dakota
- North Carolina
- New York
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
- West Virginia