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Montana Places in Top Five States for Well-Being While Nation Hits Lowest on Record, Poll Says

Happy Montana
Photo courtesy of Jon King

During 2013, an expansive poll surveyed over 178,000 Americans (including 2, 274 Montanans)  on a range of issues related to well-being. An increase in obesity, lack of job fulfillment, and lack of health insurance pushed the well-being rating down nationwide, but Montanans ended up doing pretty well.

Starting with the bad news, well-being was down in general, significantly down. In fact, the 2013 results were tied with results from the 2009 great recession as being the lowest on record.

“Nationally, the percent who didn’t have health insurance climbed to a new high,” said Dan Witters, who has worked on the Gallup-Healthway’s Well-Being Index for the past five years. “That consequently drags down the overall score. One of the reasons, I think, in addition to obesity and a few others, that caused the U.S. overall to have it’s lowest well-being score in six years is because of the health insurance issue.

Although the nation had a negative outlook. Montana came out with high marks and was named as one of the top five states for well-being.

“Montana is very consistently high on our list of states that we see in the top ten,” Witters said. “They were number six in 2012. Montanans take good care of themselves in a lot of different ways. Close to 70 percent report that they are able to learn new and interesting things on a daily basis. Other things that I love about Montana includes job satisfaction. Number one in the nation, among people who work. Also, being able to use strengths at work; number two in the nation. About 85 percent of Montanan who work are able to do what they do best, kind of square pegs in square holes.”

Montana also pushed Colorado out of the number one spot when it comes to having a low obesity rate.

Montana neighbors North and South Dakota took the first and second spots on the list respectively. Montana only missed the top spot by a single point. West Virgina, on the other hand, came in last.

Montana was one of only eleven states to have improved its rank every year for the past five years.

Dan Witters:

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