Happiest states: Hawaii is No. 1, which is last?

  • hawaii, beach, friends, happy, stock, 4x3 Flickr/Kanaka Menehune

    (CBS News) Are warm weather and beautiful beaches the keys to happiness? If Hawaii's residents are any indication, yes. For the third year in a row, Hawaii ranked first place in the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. The state received a score of 70.2 - a score of 100 represents ideal well-being.

    The results are based on daily telephone surveys conducted from January through December 2011. A random sampling of over 350,000 adults were asked questions about their well-being, including present satisfaction as well as what they anticipate things will be like in five years.

    What about Hawaiians makes them the happiest? They were most likely to say they smiled or laughed a lot "yesterday" and the least likely to report daily worry or stress and to ever have been diagnosed with depression. In terms of physical health, Hawaiians' good eating and exercise habits and lower smoking rates earned them the top spot for healthy behaviors in the nation. Hawaii also won the top spot on Gallup's poll last year, HealthPop reported.

    As happy as Hawaiians are, the nation's overall Well-Being Index score declined in 2011 - 66.2 from 66.8 in 2010 - and was the lowest score recorded since tracking began in 2008. According to Gallup, the decrease is due to small declines in each of the six sub-indexes that comprise the Well-Being Index: life evaluation, emotional health, work environment, physical health, healthy behaviors, and basic access. State-level data remained fairly unchanged, however.

    The poll found the highest well-being among residents in Western and Midwestern states and the lowest well-being in Southern states.

    What other states make the list of top 10 happiest? Which states ranked lowest in well-being? Click through to find out...

  • Monica DyBuncio

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