Alaska has been named the happiest state of 2014 by a new Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index poll for the very first time, with West Virginia earning the last spot on the list for the sixth year in a row.

US States Ranked By Well-Being

The Healthways Well-Being Index is meant to measure how residents of each state feel about their every day lives. The study measures health and happiness in five ways: purpose, social, financial, community and physical. Over 176,000 interviews were conducted over the course of 2014 where residents were asked to rate their satisfaction in those five categories. It is the combined scores (ranging from 0 to 100) of each of the five categories that determines the ranking, so the states lower on the list could excel in some categories and simply lack in others.

Alaska takes the crown of healthiest state from North Dakota, a state that didn’t even make it into the top 10.

Top Ten Healthiest/Happiest States:

2. Hawaii
3. South Dakota
4. Wyoming
5. Montana
6. Colorado
7. Nebraska
8. Utah
9. New Mexico
10. Texas

It is interesting to note that the two states that do not border any other states are the happiest – with Alaska and Hawaii taking the two top spots on the list. Hawaii reportedly had the highest ranking in financial and physical well-being this past year, while Alaska dominated in purpose. In comparison, last place state West Virginia ranked last in both purpose and physical well-being.

From there, the states ranked 11-20 are mostly costal or northern states – including California and Illinois, leaving Southern states like in the bottom.

Bottom 10 Happiest/Healthiest States:

41. Missouri
42. Michigan
43. Arkansas
44. Tennessee
45. Alabama
46. Mississippi
47. Ohio
48. Indiana
49. Kentucky
50. West Virginia

The ranking of 2014, however, has shown an overall increase in well-being since Gallup began the annual study in 2008.

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