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Utah Tops Survey of Well-Being in U.S.

Hawaii and Wyoming Residents Also Say They're Happy; West Virginia Ranks Last
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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.

  1. Utah
  2. Hawaii
  3. Wyoming
  4. Colorado
  5. Minnesota
  6. Maryland
  7. Washington
  8. Massachusetts
  9. California
  10. Arizona
  11. Idaho
  12. Montana
  13. New Hampshire
  14. Vermont
  15. Virginia
  16. Nebraska
  17. New Mexico
  18. Oregon
  19. Connecticut
  20. Alaska
  21. Texas
  22. Kansas
  23. Georgia
  24. Wisconsin
  25. New Jersey
  26. South Carolina
  27. Iowa
  28. North Dakota
  29. Maine
  30. Florida
  31. Illinois
  32. Pennsylvania
  33. Alabama
  34. North Carolina
  35. New York
  36. Delaware
  37. Rhode Island
  38. Nevada
  39. South Dakota
  40. Louisiana
  41. Michigan
  42. Tennessee
  43. Oklahoma
  44. Missouri
  45. Indiana
  46. Arkansas
  47. Ohio
  48. Mississippi
  49. Kentucky
  50. West Virginia

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