Hawaii residents remained the least likely in the U.S. to say they felt stressed on any given day in 2012, at 32.1 percent. West Virginia residents, on average, were the most likely to report feeling stress, at 47.1 percent.
These state-level data are based on daily surveys conducted from January through December 2012 and encompass more than 350,000 interviews as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. Nationwide, 40.6 percent of Americans reported feeling stressed “yesterday” in 2012, similar to past years.
Gallup has measured daily stress in its tracking survey since 2008. Hawaii has ranked as the state with the lowest percentage of residents reporting stress on the prior day all five years and is the only state to rank in the top five consistently since 2008. West Virginia, Kentucky and Utah, have each ranked within the top five most stressed states for the past five years. West Virginia ranked as the most stressed state in 2012, Kentucky was the top state for stress in 2008 and 2011, and Utah was the top state for stress in 2009 and 2010.
For all of the states, stress levels were statistically unchanged in 2012 compared with 2011. Regionally, states with stress levels at or above 42 percent were clustered in the Northeast and Midwest, but also included Utah, Oregon and Washington.
Lowest Stress States Report Most Enjoyment
Two of the five states with the lowest stress levels, Hawaii and Wyoming, also boasted the highest levels of enjoyment in 2012. In Hawaii, 89.7 percent of residents said they experienced enjoyment the day before the survey and 88.8 percent said so in Wyoming.
Rhode Island residents were the least likely to report feeling enjoyment the previous day, at 80.4 percent, although that is still high on an absolute basis. Residents in other high-stress states, Kentucky and West Virginia, were also among the least likely to experience enjoyment. Both of these states have appeared among the bottom five states for experiencing enjoyment at least three times since Gallup began reporting this measure, including 2012. Utah is unique in that it is routinely ranked among both the highest stress and highest enjoyment states, appearing among the top five in enjoyment in 2008, 2011 and 2012, suggesting a complex relationship between stress and other emotions.
Nationally, 84.9 percent of Americans reported feeling enjoyment “yesterday” in 2012. States with relatively lower enjoyment levels, below 84 percent, were primarily clustered in the Northeast and South, but also included Ohio. The states where enjoyment was higher than 86 percent were located mainly in the Midwest and West, including Hawaii and Alaska.
For the past five years, Hawaii has consistently ranked as the least stressed state, while West Virginia, Kentucky and Utah have been among the most stressed states. Despite this, Utah residents join Hawaii residents in reporting among the highest levels of enjoyment in the U.S., while West Virginia and Kentucky residents report some of the lowest levels of enjoyment.
While the relationship between stress and enjoyment is not clear, states with the highest stress levels tend to report less daily enjoyment. Further investigation into what drives stress, how it impacts people, and ways to mitigate its effects are important, as 40 percent of American adults consistently report experiencing it a lot of the day “yesterday.”
About the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index
The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index tracks wellbeing in the U.S. and provides best-in-class solutions for a healthier world. To learn more, please visit well-beingindex.com.