1. Life Evaluation Index: derived from the Cantril Self-Anchoring Striving Scale which asks the participant to evaluate their life satisfaction now and their expected satisfaction in 5 years.
2. Emotional Health Index: asks participants how they felt yesterday in 9 dimensions.
3. Physical Health Index: questions about BMI, disease burden & disease history, sick days, physical pain, daily energy & daily health.
4. Healthy Behaviour Index: measures life-style habits related to health outcomes
5. Work Environment Index: measures feelings and perceptions of the work environment.
6. Basic Access Index: 13 items measuring access to food, shelter, healthcare and a safe & satisfying place to live.
The figure below describes the States' composite well-being rankings in 2012 and 2013. What on earth happened in the two Dakotas last year?
There's some interesting geographic clustering, particularly for the top and bottom quintiles. The happiest states are mostly in the North & Mid-West, the unhappiest are in the South.
The study also ranks the states using their average well-being index score over the last 5 years (2008-13). I recoded this ranking so that the highest ranked state on average over this period (Hawaii) was ordered number 50 and the lowest ranked state (West Virginia) was number 1. I then plotted this ranking against the average Gross State Product of the 50 states for 2008-12, shown below. I categorized the states using the same quintile colouring as the above graphs and the size of the bubble shows the square root of the state population. The poorest states have the lowest average well-being rankings and there is a slight positive linear relationship between higher GSP and higher Well-Being rank (R-squared = 0.20, t=3.43).