West Virginia has the lowest well-being, followed by Louisiana. West Virginia is usually at the bottom of the list, according to Gallup. The state's already high obesity and diabetes rates contribute to the lack of satisfaction with quality of life there, and the fact that the state is home to some of the worst problems of the nationwide opioid epidemic, including a 21 percent increase in opioid-related overdose deaths in a year, is a contributing factor.
States with historically high satisfaction that have progressively dropped include Arkansas, Georgia, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.
The survey quizzes more than 160,000 Americans and factors in a lot of variables when it comes to defining "well being," including:
- 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
Overall, those surveyed generally reported more worry, little interest in doing things, symptoms of depression and perceiving less “positive energy” from family and friends. Fewer people reported having someone in their lives who makes them “enthusiastic about the future.” There was also a decline in the number of Americans who said they are reaching their goals and are happy with their standard of living.