Monday, March 5, 2012

The Best Places To Live If You Want To Hate Your Life



If you want to be completely f*cking miserable, live in the South. At least, that’s what the recent Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index shows. The annual index measures six areas of well-being, including life evaluation, physical health and work environment. On top of calculating an overall national level of well-being, the index also calculates the well-being for each state, assigning scores from 0 to 100, with 100 representing ideal well-being. The national score dropped slightly in 2011 to 66.2 from 66.8 in 2010. Like the national score, the best-off and worst-off states are largely unchanged.

So what are the measures that impact well-being, you might be asking yourself. Well, it’s not rocket science people. Most of the states where people report having the lowest levels of well-being suffer from the same financial, health and social ills. Commonalities in the shittiest places to live include: low median household incomes, high rates of poverty, and relatively low levels of education. Hmmm, are you sensing a trend here? Perhaps the most common shared factor among the states that report the lowest well-being is poor health. Low life expectancy, high rates of obesity, and high rates of smoking top the charts in the shittiest places to live. Rates of heart disease, cancer and diabetes are also all particularly high. Wait – does that mean that smoking two packs a day and being a fat sack of lard leads to things like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes? No shit.

According to Gallup, states in some areas of the country continue to do better than others. Of the 10 states with the highest levels of well-being, nine are either in the West or Midwest. Of the 10 states with the lowest well-being scores, five (including the top three) are located in the South -- a reality since the survey began. Now there’s a shocker, y’all.

Without further ado what follows are the top three U.S. states to live in if you want to be completely f*cking miserable for the rest of your life:

#3 - Mississippi

• Well-being index score: 63.4
• Life expectancy: 74.8 (the lowest)
• Obesity: 34.0 percent (the highest)
• Highest Obesity Rate + Lowest Life Expectancy = Suicide by Fast Food (who knew McDonald’s would eventually become an integral part of the evolutionary process?)
• Median household income: $36,851 (the lowest)
• Adult population with high school diploma or higher: 81.0 percent (3rd lowest)

#2 - Kentucky

• Well-being index score: 63.3
• Life expectancy: 76.2 (7th lowest)
• Obesity: 31.3 percent (5th highest)
• Median household income: $40,062 (4th lowest)
• Adult population with high school diploma or higher: 81.9 percent (5th lowest)

And drum roll please…

#1 - West Virginia

• Well-being index score: 62.3
• Life expectancy: 75.2 (2nd lowest)
• Obesity: 32.5 percent (2nd highest)
• Median household income: $38,218 (2nd lowest)
• Adult population with high school diploma or higher: 83.2 percent (8th lowest)

Congratulations West Virginia, not technically part of the deep South, but still a festering wasteland of unhappiness nonetheless.

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