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Can You Guess America's Happiest State? Prepare To Be Surprised

Congerdesign - Pixabay / Reuters

If you feel like you had a crummy year in 2017, you're not alone.

Across the country, Americans were feeling more stress, less fulfillment, and were worrying about their future, according to a new poll.


Every year since 2008, research company Gallup and wellness website Sharecare have taken the country's pulse and asked Americans how they're feeling.

The latest poll of more than 160,000 Americans saw a historic drop in the country's mood, with 21 states doing noticeably worse while none improved.


For comparison, just 15 states were feeling worse in 2009, after the housing market crashed.

The study tracks five markers of health and happiness:  Purpose, Social, Financial, Community, and Physical Health.

A Healthier America

Nationwide, America's emotional health, mental health, and psychological well-being took a hit last year, and a worrying number of people reported feeling less interested in the things they do.

Thankfully, the news wasn't all bad. In fact the top spots on the poll's list of happiest states reveal something surprising: you don't need to live in Hawaii or California to enjoy life (but it helps).

You may be surprised to learn that South Dakota and Vermont tied for the top spot on the "2017 State Well-Being Rankings."

South Dakota's Spearfish CanyonThe Planet D

While South Dakota ranked the best in the country for the finance and community categories, Vermont scored the best for community and physical health.

Burlington, VermontNew

The researchers say residents in these states are healthy, eat well, live in good communities and are able to stay on top of their bills.

While sought-after destinations like Hawaii and Colorado also made the top 10 (Hawaii has made the top 10 every year since the poll began), the results prove happiness is everywhere.


Well, maybe not in West Virginia.

That state ranked dead last in this year's poll, which isn't surprising. West Virginia's obesity epidemic, high rate of diabetes, and mental health crisis have earned it the bottom spot on the list every year since 2009.

The Smoker's Club

Oklahoma, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana rounded out the list's bottom five spots.

But let's not focus on the gloomy facts. A record 56% of Americans also reported they were "thriving" on this year's survey.

You can see the full survey and read more about the poll here.

How did your state rank? Do you think the results fit your family?

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