Cheer Up, Indiana: Hoosiers Rank Low in Well-Being Poll

Gallup just released a poll ranking the well-being of America’s 50 states (see criteria below). Good news for those in Utah, who ranked number one, but the news was a little more stark for Hoosiers, as we ranked 45th. On the upside, there are five states even more disgruntled than we are.

Like many reading this, I’m quite interested in public policy, so I looked to see if states with any particular political leanings tended to rank higher than others. Perhaps I could adopt that ideology and become a less angry person, as I’d imagine that to be much cheaper than therapy. But alas, that proved fruitless as I noticed Utah, which is quite conservative, was No. 1; Hawaii, which skews liberal, was No. 2; and Colorado, which was recently labelled as the 2nd most libertarian state in another poll I saw, was No. 4. (Gees, don’t you hate when you actually have to think about things and not just rest on partisan dogmas.)

At any rate, here’s some info from Gallup:

Mapping well-being scores across the country, a clear pattern emerges with higher well-being states located primarily in the West and lower well-being states clustered in the Midwest and the South. Standing out among its high-ranking western counterparts is Nevada, with a slightly below average well-being score and a rank of 38th. Also defying the overarching geographic pattern of well-being are Maryland and Massachusetts, the only two states in the Northeast to rank in the top 10…

Results are based on telephone interviews with more than 350,000 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted in 2008 as part of Gallup Poll Daily tracking. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage point.

Here is the Indiana breakdown for each criteria they used (rank is out of 50 states, with 1 being the best):

  • Well-being: 45
  • Life evaluation: 42
  • Work quality: 45
  • Basic access (to necessities): 29
  • Healthy behavior: 48
  • Physical health: 35
  • Emotional health: 43

Also, this site can tell you how happy your Congressional district is. 

While there is much to be done, the good news is: Indiana has picked up momentum and a national reputation as one of the most business-friendly states in the country, and some economists have claimed Indiana, and its citizens, could be some of the first to emerge once the recession ends.