Well-being index score: 62.7
Life expectancy: 76.2 years (7th lowest)
Obesity: 29.7% (6th highest)
Median household income: $41,141 (4th lowest)
Adult population with high school diploma or higher: 83.1% (6th lowest)
The state has one of the lowest proportions of adults with a high-school diploma, as well as the fourth-lowest median income in the country. Kentucky also ranked dead-last in terms of healthy behaviors. A mere 60.7% of respondents said they ate healthily the day before, by far the lowest of any state. Not surprisingly, Kentucky also ranked second from the bottom in terms of physical health. As many as 29% of people indicated they had health problems that prevented them from doing age-appropriate activities, a higher percentage than any state other than West Virginia. Kentucky also ranked second from the bottom in the life evaluation and emotional health categories.
As a homeowner in Kentucky, the only thing I can say is “Thank God for West Virginia.”
1. West Virginia
Well-being index score: 61.3
Life expectancy: 75.2 years (2nd lowest)
Obesity: 33.5% (the highest)
Median household income: $38,482 (2nd lowest)
Adult population with high school diploma or higher: 84.2% (12th lowest)
West Virginia residents’ well-being was the worst of all states. It scored last in three of the six categories: life evaluation, emotional health and physical health. The answers of West Virginians to questions in the physical health category were particularly alarming. It was the only state where more than 30% of residents were told that they had high cholesterol. In addition, nearly 40% of respondents were told they have high blood pressure, also the highest of all states. Some 31.4% of respondents indicated that they smoked, the highest percentage of all states. The state had the second-lowest median income in the U.S., and a very high proportion reported not being able to afford food or medicine. West Virginians had the second-worst life expectancy at birth in the country.
The other “winners” are:
3: Mississippi (how can we be worse than Mississippi?)
10: Oklahoma (it’s not OK)
Let’s see, what do nine of these 10 states have in common?
Ohio didn’t join the list of Red States in the 2012 presidential election, but it has a Republican governor and a GOP controlled legislature. The link between misery and the GOP remains consistent.
- Slide Show: 10 most unhappy states in the U.S. (marketwatch.com)
- Slide Show: The 10 happiest states in the U.S. (marketwatch.com)