Pennsylvania Drops to 31st on Gallup’s Annual Healthy-States Ranking

We dropped a spot since last year. Why are we getting less healthy?

Image courtesy Gallup-Healthways

If the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index is any indicator, Pennsylvanians are less healthy this year than last. (Should I take that as a personal affront?)

Gallup’s annual health index came out today, revealing that Pennsylvania has slipped a spot from 30th to 31st in its list of healthiest U.S. states. From a very morose press release I just received on the matter: “The state experienced decreases in every domain of health and well-being except for a slight improvement in emotional health. Life Evaluation suffered the greatest decline with Pennsylvania dropping nine points.”


The Gallup-Healthways Index looks at very specific indicators of health, like respondents’ views on present and future life situations, how much they smile and worry in a given day, the number of sick days they’ve experienced in the past month, and how satisfied they are with their jobs, among other measures. Pollsters survey at least 1,000 U.S. adults nationwide everyday to get good data. Then they crunch the numbers to come up with wellbeing index scores for each U.S. state; the scores are used create a ranked list.

The healthiest state once again is Hawaii, which maintained its #1 ranking for the third consecutive year with a wellbeing index score of 70.2. The state’s high scores on the Emotional Health and Healthy Behaviors Indexes helped it clinch the title. North Dakota, Minnesota, Utah and Alaska round out the top five.

In 31st place, Pennsylvania’s health index score was an even 66, falling below the country’s overall score of 66.6. The good news is, we still faired well in the Basic Access category, with a ranking of 14 out of 50 in that measure alone; of course, that’s a drop from last year’s 12th place.

In last place overall is poor West Virginia, with a score of 62.3. But there’s a silver lining: The state showed a slight improvement over its 2010 score of 61.7.

Check out all the Gallup-Healthways stats here. See the Pennsylvania report here [PDF].