Maryland is one of the healthiest states in the nation, according to a recent Gallup poll that ranked it as tenth with two other states. Virginia was 15th on the list.
The Well-Being score index was made up of six distinct categories: life evaluation, emotional health, work environment, physical health, healthy behaviors, and access to basic necessities. The score index is calculated on a scale of zero to 100. Hawaii once again set the standard in healthy living with a score of 71.1, with North Dakota and Alaska following close behind. Four of the top seven states are located in the western region of the country—Hawaii, Alaska, Colorado, and Utah.
Alaska was first on life evaluation, North Dakota on work environment, and Massachusetts, which was 11th overall, had best access to basic necessities.
The poll was conducted between January and June 2011, and included more than 177,000 interviews among adults from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Although District residents were interviewed, the capital was not included in the rankings.
Five Midwestern states also ranked in the top 12, including North Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Kansas, and Iowa. Maryland was one of the three top Eastern states, in addition to New Hampshire and Vermont.
Southern states continued to receive the lowest rankings in the index for the third year in a row. Eight of the bottom 11 states are Southern states. West Virginia was the least healthiest state, with a well-being index score of 62.4. It ranked worst in the life evaluation and physical health categories.
The poll found that while the very top and bottom states’ rankings have remained mostly unchanged since Gallup began the ranking in 2008, Nebraska showed the biggest improvement for the second year in a row. The state jumped from 25th in 2009 to tenth in 2010 to fifth this year.
A separate Gallup well-being tracker for metro areas ranks DC as the tenth healthiest, with a wellbeing index score of 69.9. Boulder, Colorado is considered the healthiest city in the country.
The country’s overall Well-being index fell just slightly by 0.4 points to 66.4.