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These are the happiest and saddest U.S. states

Aarthi Swaminathan
Finance Writer

When it comes to the happiest state in America, Hawaii is the big kahuna.

Based on a new Gallup poll, the Aloha State took the top spot for overall well-being for the seventh year in a row.

The study — which was based on surveys with 115,000 adults in the U.S. across all 50 states over the entire year of 2018 — used those five factors to calculate scores on a scale of 0 to 100:

The Aloha state ranked the highest on overall well-being. States in the Midwest got significantly higher well-being scores on the poll. (Graphic: David Foster)
  • Career: 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

Hawaii ranked number one in three of the study’s five scoring factors: career, social and financial well-being. Hawaii also ranked highly in the physical and community well-being factors.

Wyoming, Alaska and Montana followed Hawaii as the states with the highest overall well-being.

Interestingly, while residents are happier in Hawaii, businesses aren’t — it’s one of the worst states to do business according to a 2018 study by WalletHub.

Tourists on Lanikai Beach in Kailua, Hawaii, 2013. (Photo credit: AP/Audrey McAvoy)

‘Erosion in social and career well-being’

West Virginia ranked last for the 10th year straight.

Other states near the bottom were Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

The study noted that “well-being in the U.S. exhibits regional patterns,” and that the Northern Plains and Mountain West generally rank higher on the index. “The lowest wellbeing states are concentrated in the South and extend northward through the industrial Midwest.”

A road sign is posted at the entranced the closed Spruce Creek coal mine in Matewan, W.Va., Friday, Nov. 11, 2016. (Photo credit: AP Photo/Steve Helber)

And nationwide, well-being has continued to decline.

An “erosion in social and career well-being” has contributed to a slide in the national index from 61.5 in 2017 to 61.2, extending losses that began in 2017, the Gallup study noted.

Aarthi is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @aarthiswami.

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