How Happy Are You?


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Where you live has an incredible amount to do with how healthy and happy you are.

Research shows Latinos and low-income families lack access to healthy food options, active spaces, and healthy school environments—which impact an area’s culture of health.

So how healthy and happy are heavily Latino states?

WellBeingMap Healthyways GallupGallup recently surveyed 177,000 Americans and ranked every state in terms of its citizens’ “personal contentment” or happiness. Rankings were based on financial stability, physical health, and community involvement.

New Mexico, California, Texas, and Arizona—the four most heavily Latino U.S. states—ranked well, at No. 20, 13, 10, and 7, respectively, in terms of happiest, healthiest residents.

Hawaii (9.9% Latino) ranked No. 1.

Hawaii reported low obesity rates and low daily stress levels. On average, Hawaiians eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, regularly engage in healthy physical activity, and are reported feeling more financially secure.

Kauai Hawaii Aerial View“They do a lot of things right there,” said Dan Withers, research director of the Gallup-Healthways Well Being Index in an interview with Today. “They take good care of themselves. They do the blocking and tackling of physical wellness really well.”

Happiest States

Rounding out the top five happy/healthy states are Alaska (1.29% Latino), South Dakota (3.31% Latino), Maine (1.46% Latino), and Colorado (21% Latino).

According to Today, Hawaii and Colorado are the only two states that have been in the top 10 since Gallup began the rankings. South Dakota is also consistently in the top 12.

“If you ask people randomly nationally where South Dakota might rank in well-being, it might not be very high,” Withers said. “[But] people inside of the state really do a nice job taking care of themselves, especially with community well-being and with financial well-being.”

Least Happy States

With lists, there is a top and there is a bottom.

At the bottom of this list of happy and healthy states is West Virginia (1.37%). For the eighth year in a row, the Mountain State’s residents reported having being the least financially secure and their overall physical health being one of the poorest (West Virginians have the highest blood pressure and rates of diabetes in the country).

“It’s a place that consistently, year after year, is on the low end of the wellbeing spectrum,” Withers said of West Virginia. “We’d really like to see that get better for the sake of the residents who live there.”

The bottom of the list was heavily represented by southern states. Kentucky (3.26%), Oklahoma (9.65%), Indiana (6.41%), and Arkansas (6.87%) rounded out the bottom five on the list.

Where does your state rank on the list? You can read the report here.

By The Numbers By The Numbers



of Latinos remain without health insurance coverage

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