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Mississippi creeps up rankings in survey of well-being

Mississippians rank highly when it comes to loving where you live.
Mississippians rank highly when it comes to loving where you live. ttisbell@sunherald.com

Mississippi has steadily improved in the Gallup Healthways Well-Being rankings but it remains in the bottom 10 among states.

The survey scores the states on purpose, social structure, financial well-being, communities and physical health.

This year, Mississippi ranked 41st. In 2013, it was 48th. We were 50th in 2008, the first year of the study.

Mississippi has consistently ranked poorly in personal finances, which the study defines as “managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security.”

In the 2015 report, which covered 2014, we were 50th in that ranking. In this year's report, we moved up to 49.

That shouldn't be a surprise. Mississippi last year was 51st among states and the District of Columbia, in Talk Poverty's four major categories of poverty — overall and among children and working age men and women. Almost a third of Mississippi's children live in poverty. Slightly fewer, almost 30 percent, live in poverty in the 4th Congressional District, which includes the Coast.

The state ranked best, 3rd, in purpose. Gallup says that means people “like what you do each day and (are) motivated to your achieve goals.” That is up from No. 22 last year.

As a nation, more people than ever were “thriving,” in their own estimation. But chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes and depression were also at their highest points. Mississippi again leads the way in obesity with 36.8 percent of its people considered obese.

Hawaii, Alaska and South Dakota were at the top of the rankings again.

See the rest of the study at info.healthways.com.

Mississippi well-being

Purpose: 3rd

Social: 16th

Financial: 49th

Community: 37th

Physical: 45th

State of American Well-Being

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