Record 21 States See Decline in Well-Being in 2017

Record 21 States See Decline in Well-Being in 2017


Story Highlights

  • For the first time, zero states saw statistically significant improvement from prior year
  • South Dakota and Vermont top nation for the first time, followed by Hawaii
  • West Virginia has lowest well-being, followed by Louisiana

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Nearly half of U.S. states saw their well-being scores decline by a statistically significant margin in 2017, according to the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index. And, for the first time in nine years of tracking changes in state well-being, no state saw statistically significant improvement from the year before.


The 21 U.S. states that saw their well-being drop in 2017 shattered the previous record set in 2009 amidst the Great Recession, when 15 states had lower well-being than the year before. The large number of states with declines in well-being in 2017 is particularly notable given that Americans’ confidence in the economy and perceptions of the job market are substantially better in 2017 than they were in 2009.

Statistically Significant Change in Well-Being Index Score Among States
Compared to Prior Year
Year WBI Statistically Improved WBI Statistically Declined Net
2017 0 21 -21
2016 8 1 +7
2015 3 1 +2
2013 7 9 -2
2012 6 4 +2
2011 11 2 +9
2010 15 2 +13
2009 4 15 -11
Note: 2014 not available due to change in WBI instrument and scoring between 2013 and 2014
Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index

These data are based on more than 160,000 interviews with U.S. adults across all 50 states, from January 2 through December 30, 2017. The Well-Being Index is a mean score comprised of many metrics and is calculated on a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 represents the lowest possible well-being and 100 represents the highest possible well-being. The Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index score for the nation and for each state is based on metrics that make up five essential elements of well-being:

  • Purpose: liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals
  • Social: having supportive relationships and love in your life
  • Financial: managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security
  • Community: liking where you live, feeling safe and having pride in your community
  • Physical: having good health and enough energy to get things done daily

For the nation as a whole, the Well-Being Index score for the U.S. in 2017 was 61.5, a decline from 62.1 in 2016 and the largest year-over-year decline since the index began in 2008…..more here

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