Hawaii Ranked Happiest Place in United States

 @DanRivoli
on February 27 2012 11:39 AM
Obama Vacation Hawaii 2011-12
The Obamas vacation in Hawaii, the happiest place in America for the third year in a row, according to Gallup. Reuters

Move over Disneyland. In American, the happiest place is Hawaii.

The Aloha State Monday was ranked the happiest place in America in a Gallup survey that tracks several factors to determine the nation's Well-Being Index. The state scored 70.2 out of 100, besting North Dakota's 70.

Hawaii, holding the title of happiest place in America for the third year in a row, had top scores for healthy habits and emotional health.

Hawaiians were the most likely to say they smiled or laughed a lot 'yesterday' and the least likely to report daily worry or stress and to have ever been diagnosed with depression, according to Gallup.

Other factors that went into Gallup's ranking include physical health, work environment, basic access to necessities and state residents' feelings about life in general.

By those factors, West Virginia took the dubious honor of having the unhappiest residents with an index score of 62.3 - an uptick from its 2010 ranking. West Virginia residents had the worst physical health and life evaluation.

Gallup said Hawaiians' level of happiness is similarly felt in the Midwest and Western states, like Minnesota, Iowa, Montana and Utah. Meanwhile, the South continues to rank low on Gallup's happiness scale.

As a whole, America in 2011 was pretty much at the same level of happiness as 2010 -- ranking 66.2 last year -- but a sharp decline since 2008, the year Gallup started tracking happiness and the beginning of the economic collapse.

The pollster conducted the survey throughout 2011, contacting more than 350,000 adults in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

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