New study says South Dakota is second happiest state - KOTA Territory News

New study says South Dakota is second happiest state

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If you're living in North or South Dakota right now, you've probably got a big smile on your face, and that's because you're in the one of the two happiest states in the Nation.

A new study from Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index says the Dakotas top the list of states with the highest well-being figures in the nation for 2013.

South Dakota came in right behind it's neighbor to the north as the happiest state in the U.S.

"Well I believe it is," said Lynnette Hayford, Rapid City. "I know I enjoy living here in Rapid City. I believe it's a very pleasant place to live."

According to Research Director, Dan Witters, the numbers reflect the overall health, employment, education and the local environment. This means that if you've got a bustling economy and educated, healthy people boosting employment rates, that can collectively lift well-being in an area, which in turn could provide further opportunities to develop a community and make it even happier.

"I don't know how they would determine that but I think  it is a really beautiful place to live," said Corissa Krueger, Rapid City. "I think we have more sun than most states so I think that definitely helps the ability to get outside. I know we have our problems here too."

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index is based on interviews with more than 176,000 people from all 50 states last year and takes a look at the physical and emotional health of the nation.

States at the top of the scores have residents who probably don't smoke, likely exercise more often and better themselves by learning new things every day.

Here is a list of the top 10 happiest's states. Scores are out of a possible 100 points.

1. North Dakota: 70.4
2. South Dakota: 70.0
3. Nebraska: 69.7
4. Minnesota: 69.7
5. Montana: 69.3
6. Vermont: 69.1
7. Colorado:68.9
8. Hawaii: 68.4
9. Washington: 68.3
10. Iowa: 68.2

On the other end of the spectrum, states with low well-being scores were more likely to have residents who exhibit unhealthy behaviors or don't have access to basic necessities. That takes a toll on their health, both emotional and physical, the study finds.

Check out the Bottom 10.

50. West Virginia: 61.4
49. Kentucky: 63.0
48. Mississippi: 63.7
47. Alabama: 64.1
46. Ohio: 64.2
45. Arkansas: 64.3
44. Tennessee: 64.3
43. Missouri: 64.5
42. Oklahoma: 64.7
41. Louisiana: 64.9

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