Arizona Ranks 19th in the Nation for Residents' Well-Being

Pending legislation notwithstanding, Arizonans are generally a pretty happy bunch.

At least, according to Gallup-Healthways' "well-being index," Arizonans are better off than the average American.

Gallup did phone interviews with more than 178,000 people to come to this result, including more than 4,000 interviews with Arizonans.

The interviewers asked various questions about the respondents' physical health, lifestyle habits, work environment, general assessment of their own well-being, and access to things like food, shelter, and healthcare.

Arizona's residents had the 19th-highest levels of well-being in the nation. (Over the six years that Gallup and Healthways have been doing this analysis, Arizona's average place among the 50 states has been about 22nd-best.)

Arizona could have been several places higher were it not for a category of questions on "basic access," which includes 13 questions about access to food, shelter, healthcare, and a "safe and satisfying place to live." Arizona's poor showing is consistent with data from other studies -- Arizona has one of the 20-highest rates of "food hardship" in the nation. Arizona's in the top 10 nationwide for the highest rates of people without health insurance, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Although children weren't included in Gallup's well-being survey, Arizona also has one of the highest rates of uninsured children nationwide.

For these "basic access" questions, Arizonans ranked 42nd out of the 50 states.

Aside from all that, Arizonans were better off than the rest of the nation in the other categories of questions.

When measuring "healthy behaviors" -- described as "measuring lifestyle habits with established relationships to health outcomes" -- Arizona was 10th-best in the nation.

See, it's not all that bad. As we usually say around here, at least we're not Mississippi (which was actually has just the third-most miserable residents in the country, behind Kentucky, and the absolute worst, West Virginia).

If you need to be happier -- check out North Dakota. People seem to like it there, as it placed first on the well-being scale. Hawaii, which placed eighth this year, has been the number-one place to live for four of the six years this study has been done.

Check out the rest of the available information here. More detailed state-level results won't be available for a few more months.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley