Hawaii Again Tops Gallup List for Stress-Free Residents
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by Dave Smith
For the fifth year in a row, Hawaii has been deemed the state with the least number of stressed residents.
According to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index released this week, 32.1% of residents of the Aloha State reported feeling stress “yesterday.”
The index is based on telephone interviews of more than 350,000 people carried out between January and December 2012.
Hawaii has been at the top of the index since it was created in 2008, and is the only state to be consistently in the top five.
Others in the top five last year were, in order, Louisiana, Mississippi, Iowa and Wyoming. The percentages of people in those states reporting feeling stress ranged from 37.6% to 38.6%.
The states with the most residents reporting stress were West Virginia, Rhode Island, Kentucky, Utah and Massachusetts, with the percentages ranging from 47.1% to 43.4%.
The nationwide average was 40.6%, which Gallup said was similar to past years.
Hawaii also came out on top when it came to experiencing “enjoyment.”
Nearly nine out of 10 of its residents (89.7%) responded affirmatively to the question, followed by Wyoming (88.8%), Utah (88.7%), North Dakota (87.9%) and Idaho (87.3).
States where the fewest number of residents reported enjoyment were Rhode Island at 80.4%, followed by Kentucky, New Jersey, New York and West Virginia (82.7%).
Gallup said Kentucky and West Virginia have been among the five states where the fewest residents reported enjoyment three times since 2008.
Pollsters said Utah is unique in that it is routinely ranked among both the highest stress and highest enjoyment states, appearing among the top five in enjoyment in 2008, 2011, and 2012. That suggests “a complex relationship between stress and other emotions,” Gallup said.
When it came to the overall “well-being index,” Hawaii again came out on top with a score of 71.1, where 100 represents “ideal well-being.”
West Virginia had the lowest score at 61.3.
The index was based on six criteria: life evaluation, emotional health, physical health, healthy behavior, work environment and basic access.
The last criterion involved availability to such things as clean water, medicine, doctors, health insurance and affordable fruits and vegetables, as well as satisfaction with the community or area and having enough money for food and shelter.
Click here for Gallup’s interactive map showing scores in other states.