The 10 Saddest States in America
NEW YORK ( MainStreet) If you live in the South or Midwest, you might be miserable.
That is, at least according to the most recent Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, a poll that surveyed more than 178,000 Americans on questions related to physical and emotional health, life evaluation, access to basic necessities and work. All the Top 10 most miserable states were located within the South or Midwest, and West Virginia once again took the lead for the fifth year in a row.
But nobody's perfect -- the "obesity rate has generally increased across the U.S. each year since 2008," according to Gallup. And even wealthier states like Rhode Island, New York and Connecticut scored in the bottom 10 for job creation. Still, the following 10 states take the cake sometimes, literally for general misery.
1. West Virginia (Well-being score: 61.4)
Going by Gallup's numbers, West Virginia can't seem to get it together. Beginning with health concerns, its residents ranked with:
- the third highest diabetes rate, at 15.9%
- the second highest obesity rate, at 34.4%
- the second lowest exercise rate, at 47.1%
Residents were pessimistic about the future of their surrounding area their 48.1% score in the "city optimism" index is the lowest in the nation. They had the bleakest view of the nation's economy, with an "economic confidence" index at -44.1 (the national average is -16), and the lowest percentage (36.1) of people working for a full-time employer in the country. However, the state only has a current 5.9% unemployment rate, and it ranked No. 14 in Gallup's "work environment" index.
In summation, West Virginia ranked last in healthy behavior, life evaluation, emotional health, physical health and basic access to necessities in Gallup's report.
2. Kentucky (Well-being score: 63)
Like West Virginia, Kentucky hasn't budged from its position in five years. The state had the ninth highest obesity rate at 30.6%. Its job creation index of 16 tied with five other states (Maine, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Alabama and Arkansas) and residents had a low economic confidence outlook at -28. Gallup also found 30.2% of Kentucky residents smoked, the highest in the nation. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Kentucky has the sixth highest unemployment rate in America at 7.7%.
3. Mississippi (Well-being score: 63.7)
Mississippi ranks as the most religious state in the country, with 61.1% identifying themselves as "very religious." It's also the fattest, with 35.4% of the population considered obese. It ranks third in the least number of insured people, has the seventh highest rate of underemployment and ranks just above Kentucky with a 7.5% unemployment rate. But, Mississippi was one of the 11 states to make the most improvements in well-being score since 2010, with an improvement of 0.7 points.