Once again, Hawaii has earned top honors in a study naming it the happiest state in the union. Hawaii has earned this honor for three years running, as calculated by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.
Fox News reports that the top five happiest states are, in descending order: Hawaii, North Dakota, Minnesota, Utah, and Alaska. West Virginia, Kentucky, and Mississippi scored the lowest.
Hawaiians were most likely to respond in the affirmative when asked if they smiled or laughed the previous day, and generally had good health due to eating habits and exercise.
The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index measures happiness across multiple categories, including emotional and physical health, job satisfaction, and access to services.
In response to the news, State Health Director Loretta J. Fuddy responded by saying, "I think Hawaii is health conscious...I'm sure just being in a sunny place just helps your disposition."
Lola Irvin, state Health Department tobacco settlement manager, added there had been a 26 percent reduction in adult smoking and a 54 percent drop in adolescent smoking over the last ten years. "Maui has been very progressive and has embraced wanting to be a healthy place to live and work," Ms. Irvin explained.
The happiness ratings were based on the responses of 350,000 adults in the US, polled during the period from January 2011 to December 2011.