by Patrick Appel
Gallup just put out a new well-being index (lighter green is better). The bottom line: "The overall well-being of the nation has thus far trended down 0.4 points in 2009, representing a modest decline from 2008 in Americans' collective well-being." Catherine Rampell summarizes the findings:
The index attempts to “measure what it is that people believe constitutes a good life, who is feeling good about life, and who is in need of a helping hand.” It is an average of six sub-indexes (life evaluation, emotional health, work environment, physical health, healthy behaviors and access to basic necessities). The January through June 2009 index numbers are based on more than 170,000 interviews conducted among national adults, age 18 and older. For the first half of 2009 Hawaii was followed closely by Utah, which had previously had the highest happiness level. The states with the lowest well-being levels were West Virginia and Kentucky, which had also held the bottom slots in 2008.
It's somewhat surprising that Hawaii fares so well considering much of their economy depends on tourism and they have seen a big drop in visitors.