For years, Hawaii was the happiest place in the country, but this time around, another state has ranked at #1. According to Gallup’s Well-Being Index, 2013′s happiest state was — drumroll — North Dakota. The Well-Being Index factors in various aspects of life, like work environments, health, and basic access to food, water and medical care. The closer to 100 a state’s score is, the higher its residents’ quality of life. North Dakota scored a 70.4, followed by South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota and Montana. I’m just as surprised as you are. States in the Midwest and West fared best on the wellbeing scale, while the South scored the lowest. The most sadface of states, weighing in with a score of 61.4, is West Virginia — for the fifth year in a row. Bummer.
Gallup gathered this data by interviewing over 178,000 people in all 50 states in 2013. States were also given scores for the sub-indexes used to measure their overall wellbeing. The state with the highest emotional heath score was Alaska. North Dakota scored highest on physical health, and Vermont scored highest on healthy behavior. You can see the full list here, but in short, move to the Midwest and you’re set for life! [Newser, Gallup]