10 states with lowest well-beingArticle added by Marlene Y. Satter on February 17, 2017
Marlene Satter

Marlene Y. Satter

Joined: April 29, 2015

This photograph shows the state that ranked the worst in Gallup-Healthways' survey of Americans' well-being.

Where you live in the U.S. could determine your level of well-being.

That’s according to a Gallup-Healthways study, which looked at several basic categories of well-being for employees across the country in its “State of American Well-Being: 2016 State Well-Being Rankings.”

Data were analyzed to see which states do better or worse in the five elements of well-being, which the study defined as follows:

• Purpose—liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals

• Social—having supportive relationships and love in your life

• Financial—managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security

• Community—liking where you live, feeling safe and having pride in your community

• Physical—having good health and enough energy to get things done daily

The Well-Being Index is calculated on a scale of 0 to 100, where zero represents the lowest possible well-being and 100 represents the highest possible well-being.

Scores for each of the well-being elements are also calculated on a 0-to-100 scale. States are then divided into quintiles reflecting how high, or low, they finished on the well-being index.

Related: 10 worst cities for retirement

Nationally, the study arrived at a well-being index score of 62.1, indicating “significant gains from 2014 and 2015.”

But individuals and states didn’t score that high. Although the percentage of respondents who said they are “thriving” increased from 48.9 percent in 2008 to 55.4 percent in 2016 it's not sufficient improvement to jump up and cheer.

And while Gallup studies have found that financial security has nearly three times the impact of income alone on employees’ overall well-being, that doesn’t mean that employers are taking drastic steps to help their workers.

Related: 10 best states for well-being in retirement

Gallup said that although many organizations offer programs to help employees manage their finances, the average employee doesn’t think his or her organization is very effective in doing so. Only 7 percent of employees strongly agree that their organization does things to help them manage their finances more effectively.

The data fueling the survey results are based on 177,192 telephone interviews with U.S. adults across all 50 states and the District of Columbia, conducted by Gallup from January 2nd to December 30th, 2016 at the rate of 500 interviews per day. The resulting sample projects to an estimated 95 percent of all U.S. adults.


10. Mississippi, 61.3

Mississippi actually did pretty well in the community ranking, nabbing a 3—in the top quintile—although it was all downhill from there.

A 16 in social was its next-highest rank, with community finishing at 37, physical at 45 and financial at 45.

9. Rhode Island, 61.3

Rhode Island didn’t manage to finish in the top quintile in any category; instead it logged a physical ranking of 18 in the second.

But after that, it was all fifth-quintile numbers: 50 for both social and community, 49 for purpose and 43 for financial.

8. Louisiana, 61.0

Louisiana managed to win two rankings in the third quintile: a 30 for social and a 25 for purpose.

Physical only rated a 41, while the state did even worse on community, at 42, and financial, at 48.

7. Alabama, 61.0

Alabama ranked 28th in both purpose and community, but descended into the fifth quintile for the rest.

Social ranking was 43rd, physical was 46th and financial was 47th.

6. Ohio, 60.9

Ohio’s three fourth-quintile scores—31 for financial, the second best of any state in the fifth quintile, 39 for community and 40 for social rank—undoubtedly kept it from finishing even lower.

The state also got a 42 for physical well-being and a 43 for purpose.

5. Arkansas, 60.8

Arkansas’ highest ranking was for community, at 31, followed by a 32 for purpose.

After that, it was fifth quintile all the way, with a 47 for both social and physical and a 45 for financial.

4. Indiana,60.5

Indiana actually got the best score in the quintile for financial well-being, with a 30. Its next highest score, 38, was for community.

Physical was graded at 44, purpose was 47 and social well-being was 49.

3. Oklahoma, 60.5

Oklahoma’s strong points were community, at 33, and purpose, at 35.

Financial followed at 46—a big step down—and then by physical and social, at 48 each.

2. Kentucky, 60.5

Eight years in a row—that’s how long Kentucky, together with the next state, has logged a ranking at the lowest end of the scale.

With a 49 in physical, a 44 in purpose, a 41 in social, a 40 in financial and a 29 in community, it managed to finish higher than West Virginia, but not by a huge amount.

1. West Virginia, 58.9

Yep, West Virginia is Kentucky’s partner in misery, ranking even lower on the well-being scale and doing so for the eighth year running.

It scored a 50 in purpose, financial and physical well-being rankings, while managing to achieve a 49 in community and a 45 in social ranking—leaving it solidly at the bottom of the fifth quintile.

Originally published by BenefitsPro.com
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