HEADLINES Published January30, 2016 By Bernadette Strong

Want to Be Happier? Move to Alaska or Hawaii!

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A view of a Hawaii beach, one of the reasons why that state ranks highest in surveys of well-being.
(Photo : Justin Sullivan, Getty Images )

If you want a better sense of well-being, you might want to move to Hawaii or Alaska. Those two states came out on top in a new report on all 50 states based on their residents' reports of well-being.

Hawaii has been a perennial top state in the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index for many years. It has been No. 1 in the poll five times since 2008. But Alaska was No. 1 in 2015.

Montana, Colorado and Wyoming made up the rest of the top five in the State of American Well-Being: 2015 State Rankings report. The report was compiled from data collected in a non-scientific telephone survey of Americans across the country.

According to the report, the bottom five states are Indiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and West Virginia. West Virginia has been last in the rankings for the past 7 years. Kentucky has been No. 49 for the past 7 years.

The survey includes questions on a variety of topics that are grouped in five areas, Purpose, Social, Community, Financial, and Physical. Respondents were asked questions along the lines of whether they like what they do each day, if they have a loving relationship, if they like where they live, if they are managing their finances, and about their health and energy, to give an example from each category.

Whereas Hawaii benefits in the survey from having wonderful weather and beautiful scenery, its score also takes into account the economy and high cost of living and of housing in that state. Which are negative factors. Alaska also benefits in the survey from its natural beauty and recreational opportunities, but the state's score is hurt by gaps in health insurance and by a low number of respondents who said they had a personal physician.

About 12% of Alaskans said they have been diagnosed with depression at some point in their life, which is the second lowest rate in the survey, just behind Hawaii; About 6% of Alaskans said they were being treated for depression, again, just behind Hawaii.

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