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Happiest states in America (and other horseshit)

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Happiest states in America (and other horseshit)

Postby Repatriate » Wed Feb 17, 2010 5:41 pm

I had to laugh at this because the last couple of years yahoo has really been flag waving hard with its front page news putting up survey fluff like this to pump up sad faces in a dismal economy.

If you needed an extra twist of the arm to set off on a Hawaii vacation, here it is: The big-wave state was the happiest place to live in 2009, according to a newly released national survey.

Topping the well-being list among all 50 states, Hawaii pulled ahead of the 2008 leader Utah. But Utah and its neighbors still have plenty to smile about. Nine of the top 10 well-being states reside in the Midwest and the West. The south didn't fare so well, taking seven of the 11 lowest well-being spots on the list.

The results come from interviews with more than 350,000 American adults who took part in the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index in 2009. This is the second year of the survey.

The well-being score for each state is an average of six sub-categories, including: life evaluation (self-evaluation about your present life situation and anticipated one in five years); emotional health; work environment (such as job satisfaction); physical health; healthy behavior; basic access (access to healthcare, a doctor, a safe place to exercise and walk, as well as community satisfaction).

The top 10 states and their average well-being scores (out of a possible 100 points):

* Hawaii: 70.2
* Utah: 68.3
* Montana: 68.3
* Minnesota: 67.8
* Iowa: 67.6
* Vermont: 67.4
* Colorado: 67.3
* Alaska: 67.3
* North Dakota: 67.3
* Kansas: 67.2

A complete list of the 2009 happiest states is here.

Hawaii also topped the charts for life evaluation, emotional health and physical health, while West Virginia scored the worst on those indexes. Utah was number-one for work environment, scoring 10 points more than the worst state, Delaware.

Bad news for Mississippi, which scored lowest on the basic access index. For healthy behavior, Vermont topped the list while Kentucky scored the worst.

Overall, state well-being stayed pretty stable from 2008 to 2009. Only four states - South Dakota, Mississippi, Hawaii, and Iowa - upped their scores by two or more points compared with 2008. Wyoming had the greatest drop of 1.3 points since 2008. Compared with 2008, 18 states moved in a negative direction, 27 in a positive direction, and five stayed the same.

As for why one state tops the list while another fails miserably, in the past researchers have looked at the relationship between 2008 well-being scores and various factors, including economic indicators, education levels, personality traits and levels of inclusiveness. They found the states with higher gross regional product (GRP) per capita (level of productivity and standard of living), higher income levels and higher median housing value, were significantly happier than poorer areas.

In addition, the happiest states in 2008 tended to have more residents with advanced educations and jobs that were considered "super-creative," such as architecture, engineering, computer and math occupations, library positions, arts and design work, as well as entertainment, sports and media occupations.

Level of inclusiveness was also important, according to the research on the 2008 scores, with some of the states scoring best for well-being also being the most tolerant.

If you're wondering if people in a particular state are happy, you might just want to ask them. Another team of researchers reported results last year in the journal Science showing that a person's self-reported happiness matches up with objective measures of well-being. A separate happiest states list, generated from the individual surveys of this study, differed from the 2008 and 2009 lists that relied on the Gallup-Healthways data.

Essentially, the team publishing their work in Science used their data to statistically create a representative American. That way they could take, for example, a 38-year-old woman with a high-school diploma and making medium-wage who is living anywhere and transplant her to another state and get a rough estimate of her happiness level.


So apparently Hawaii is one of the "happiest" places to live in America and maybe that's not surprising since it's not connected to the mainland. What is surprising is that Utah (shitty Mormon state), Montana, Minnesota, and Iowa rank so high. That's what makes this list so unbelievable to me.
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Postby Winston » Thu Feb 18, 2010 8:15 pm

Utah I can believe. When I was there, the people were very kind and down to earth. They were religious too, which gives them some purpose to believe in. And the nature in the southern part of Utah was very spectacular. It's one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Have a look at some pictures I took there:

http://www.happierabroad.com/Southwest_Photos.htm

My mind was at peace there too. So I can believe that people are more happy there than in other parts of America. I certainly felt happier there and got very good vibes.

Hawaii has beaches, warm weather and that "vacation" vibe, so I guess it's happier than other stressful and bland parts of the USA.
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Postby Grunt » Tue Mar 23, 2010 3:26 pm

I lived in Montana for a few years. The whole state is filled with deranged hate filled low IQ douchebags that understand fully they will never accomplish anything in life, so they dedicate themselves to making life as miserable as possible for everyone else.

This is up to and including putting poison in the food of those that move into Montana from out of state. And no, I am not kidding. Just google Denton Moberly poisoned" then know we lived in the same town he got poisoned in.

I was just discussing this topic with another Montana resident, and we agreed on the basic concept. He was originally from Florida, and I am from New Jersey. The best thing to do with Montana is nuke the population and turn the place into a theme park. They need to be put of of my misery.
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Postby Contrarian Expatriate » Thu Apr 22, 2010 8:16 pm

What a farce. That list is like "Happiest Psychiatric Facilities." The US is lacking in happiness vis a vis the rest of the world. Most Americans believe they are happy, but they are not.
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Postby Winston » Fri Apr 23, 2010 8:01 am

Contrarian Expatriate wrote:What a farce. That list is like "Happiest Psychiatric Facilities." The US is lacking in happiness vis a vis the rest of the world. Most Americans believe they are happy, but they are not.


True, a lot of Americans will just SAY they're happy simply because you're supposed to always pretend to be happy or else there is something wrong with them, so they just pretend to be happy to fit in and not look like losers.

Like that quote from RedDog said, if Americans really were happy and free, would they always need to say that every day is a great day and that they are a free country? A truly happy person does not need to tell everyone that they are happy right?

I mean if you have to pump it up all the time then obviously you're missing something?!

That being said, when I traveled around the US, I noticed that the rat race materialistic shallow culture is mostly on the coastal areas. When you go inland to the MidWest for instance, things seem more laid back and relaxed. Is that true?

If so, are people generally friendlier inland? I always imagined that if I go to the deep rural South, that there would be families that are like "The Waltons", "Little House on the Prairie" and "The Big Valley". Do such warm good-natured families exist?

I also hear that in some towns, no one locks their house doors ever cause there are no burglars and everyone trusts each other and have no reason to be paranoid. I did meet one such family in Durango, Colorado though. They never locked their doors and their friends came and went. But I don't know how common that is.
Check out the latest posts in our blog The Happier Abroaders.

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"It takes far less effort to find and move to the society that has what you want than it does to try to reconstruct an existing society to match your standards." - Harry Browne, How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World
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