America Has a New Happiest State
Sorry, Hawaii, it's ... North Dakota
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 20, 2014 8:58 AM CST
Steve Dahl, owner of the Perch Patrol, shows off the first perch he caught on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014 on Devils Lake, ND.   (AP Photo/Jackie Lorentz)

(Newser) – What's better than sandy beaches, sunshine, and luaus? Bitter winters and oil drilling, apparently. North Dakota is now the happiest state in the US, LiveScience reports, having taken the crown that Hawaii has worn for the past four years. The 50th state crashed to eighth place, per Gallup's 2013 "Well-Being Index," which considered factors like work environments, health, and access to food, water, and medical care. North Dakota has made it into the Top 10 a number of times—even ranking No. 2 in 2012—but never nailed down the top spot until now, the index's research director says. Here's a look at how other states fared according to their Well-Being Index score, which follows a scale of 0 to 100:

  1. North Dakota: 70.4
  2. South Dakota: 70
  3. Nebraska: 69.7 (tie)
  4. Minnesota: 69.7 (tie)
  5. Montana: 69.3
At the bottom:
  1. West Virginia: 61.4 (on the bottom for the 5th year running)
  2. Kentucky: 63
  3. Mississippi: 63.7
  4. Alabama: 64.1
  5. Ohio: 64.2
Check out the full list here.
 

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