Utah Travel Headlines Blog

Monday, November 16, 2009

Utah Leads US In Happiness Study

People in Utah are the happiest in the US, according to a new study. USA Today has this article about the study. Below are excerpts.

Looking for happiness -- it's family-friendly communities for some, tropical paradise or the rugged West for others. A survey of Americans' well-being, conducted by Gallup in partnership with Healthways and America's Health Insurance Plans, gives high marks to Utah, which boasts lots of outdoor recreation for its youthful population.

Speaking of outdoor recreation, the islands of Hawaii took second place and Wyoming was third in the poll that rated such variables as mental, physical and economic health.

"It's not just about physical health," said Eric Nielsen, a spokesman for Gallup. "It's about their ability to contribute at work and be more productive, and it's about feeling engaged in a community and wanting to improve that community."

The massive survey involved more than 350,000 interviews. Examples of the questions include: Did you smile or laugh a lot yesterday? Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with your job or the work you do? Did you eat healthy all day yesterday? Do you feel safe walking alone at night in the city or area where you live?

In general, highest well-being scores came from states in the West while the lowest were concentrated in the South. The happiest congressional districts were some of the wealthiest, while the lowest scores came in some of the poorest.

But Harter said that he believed geographic divides could be overstated and even the states with the highest scores had significant work to do to improve certain aspects of their residents' health and happiness.

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