Should we all move to Hawaii? Survey says: probably. For the fifth year in a row, the Aloha State topped the list of the least stressful places to live in the United States, according to a new Gallup poll.
The research firm surveyed U.S. residents by state daily from January through December 2012 and asked participants if they felt stress during a lot of the day “yesterday.” Only 32 percent of Hawaiians said “yes,” making Hawaii the least stressed state this year—and every year since Gallup began taking this poll in 2008. What’s more, Hawaii’s stress factor was significantly lower than the proportion of total Americans who said they felt really stressed out: 40.6 percent.
What makes those islanders so carefree? Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the state also topped Gallup’s list of states “experiencing the most enjoyment.” That is, out of all 50 states, Hawaii had the most residents who said they felt a lot of enjoyment “yesterday” (89.7 percent, in fact). And in February, the poll firm also reported that Hawaii was the happiest state in the union based on residents’ work satisfaction, health, and whether they worried or smiled the previous day.
But it’s not just sunshine and island culture that makes life less tense. Iowa and Wyoming—decidedly non-beach states—also made the top five least-stressed states.
The top five least stressed states were:
1. Hawaii (32.1 percent felt stressed “yesterday”)
2. Louisiana (37.6 percent)
3. Mississippi (37.9 percent)
4. Iowa (38.1 percent)
5. Wyoming (38.1 percent)
Those low stress rates were in stark comparison to the percentages of very distressed residents in the most stressed states. The five most stressful places to live, which included West Virginia, Rhode Island, and Kentucky, had nearly half of their residents report feeling a lot of aggravation in day-to-day life.
The top five most stressed states were:
1. West Virginia (47.1 percent)
2. Rhode Island (46.3 percent)
3. Kentucky (44.8 percent)
4. Utah (44.6 percent)
5. Massachusetts (43.4 percent)
Why did West Virginia top this list (and why has it ranked somewhere in the top five most-stressed states for the last five years)? That’s unclear, but it’s worth noting that the state also reported having higher-than-average rates of obesity and has one of the lowest average per-capita incomes in the nation.
Did these findings surprise you? Let us know in the comments.