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If you needed an extra twist of the arm to set off on a Hawaii vacation, here it is: The big-wave state was the happiest place to live in 2009, according to a newly released national survey.
Topping the well-being list among all 50 states, Hawaii pulled ahead of the 2008 leader Utah. But Utah and its neighbors still have plenty to smile about. Nine of the top 10 well-being states reside in the Midwest and the West. The south didn't fare so well, taking seven of the 11 lowest well-being spots on the list.
The results come from interviews with more than 350,000 American adults who took part in the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index in 2009. This is the second year of the survey.
The well-being score for each state is an average of six sub-categories, including: life evaluation (self-evaluation about your present life situation and anticipated one in five years); emotional health; work environment (such as job satisfaction); physical health; healthy behavior; basic access (access to healthcare, a doctor, a safe place to exercise and walk, as well as community satisfaction).
The top 10 states and their average well-being scores (out of a possible 100 points):
Hawaii: 70.2 Utah: 68.3 Montana: 68.3 Minnesota: 67.8 Iowa: 67.6 Vermont: 67.4 Colorado: 67.3 Alaska: 67.3 North Dakota: 67.3 Kansas: 67.2