Slideshow States with the highest well-being

  • February 24 2015, 3:09am EST
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Constantly improving upon well-being is vital to a population’s overall health and economy. For employers, well-being can also be a predictor of business outcomes, essentially affecting a company’s economic potential. Recent data from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index analyzes all 50 states, and based on five elements of well-being — purpose, social, financial, community and physical — have ranked states from best to worst for overall well-being. Here are the 10 states with the highest well-being scores:

10. Texas

With a score of 62.8, Texas comes in at No. 10 on the well-being index. As one of the elements of well-being, "purpose" measures how much a person likes doing what they do each day, with high motivation to achieve goals.

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9. New Mexico

New Mexico ties with Texas at a 62.8 in its well-being index score. As a state's well-being score increases, research shows lower rates of health care utilization and positive changes in obesity status, says Jill Meyer, a spokeswoman with Healthways.

8. Utah

Coming in with a well-being index of 62.9, the state of Utah takes the No. 8 spot. Meyer adds that higher well-being can lead to a decrease in workplace absenteeism and an uptick in workplace performance.

7. Nebraska

With a well-being score of 63.1, Nebraska squeaks on to the list in the No. 7 spot. According to the data, having high social scores is often the result of having supportive and loving relationships.

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6. Colorado

Colorado is one of only two states to have consistently been in the top 10 states for well-being since the tracking began in 2008. Colorado’s 2014 well-being index score came in at 63.2.

5. Montana

Montana’s index in 2014 was 63.7. Another index element used in ranking the states included financial elements: managing economic issues to reduce stress and increase security, according to the data results.

4. Wyoming

Wyoming and New Mexico saw strong improvement in the rankings, returning to the top 10 after several years of lower rankings. According to Meyer, “Well-being is also a predictor of business outcomes such as employee engagement, customer engagement, turnover and workplace safety.”

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3. South Dakota

South Dakota, with an overall well-being score of 64.3, also leads the nation in two of the five overall elements of well-being. Social, as well as community, includes components such as “liking where you live, feeling safe and having pride in your community,” according to the data results.

2. Hawaii

Along with Colorado, Hawaii has always made the top 10 list of states with the highest well-being. Coming in with a score of 64.5, Hawaii also leads the country in two of the five elements of well-being, financial and physical, “having good health and enough energy to get things done daily.”

1. Alaska

The No. 1 state for overall well-being, Alaska’s score was 64.7. In addition to having the highest overall well-being, the state also had the highest ranking in personal purpose well-being across the nation.