The Happiest and Saddest States of 2013

North Dakota state capitol
The state capitol of North Dakota (Image credit: <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-978674p1.html">Spirit of America</a>, <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com">Shutterstock</a>)

Known best for its icy winters and oil shale, North Dakota is also the most contented state in the union.

According to the 2013 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, an annual measure of the state residents' emotional health, physical health, feelings about their life and work and basic access to needs such as medical care and food, North Dakota tops the list in well-being, knocking Hawaii from the No. 1 spot for the first time in five years. West Virginia draws up the rear of the 50-state list.

Here are some other highlights from the 2013 data. [Read More About the Best and Worst States]

Top 10 States in Well-Being in 2013 (scores out of 100):

1. North Dakota – 70.4

2. South Dakota – 70.0

3. Nebraska – 69.7

4. Minnesota – 69.7

5. Montana – 69.3

6. Vermont – 69.1

7. Colorado – 68.9

8. Hawaii – 68.4

9. Washington – 68.3

10. Iowa – 68.2

Bottom 10 States in Well-Being in 2013 (scores out of 100):

50. West Virginia – 61.4

49. Kentucky – 63.0

48. Mississippi – 63.7

47. Alabama – 64.1

46. Ohio – 64.2

45. Arkansas – 64.3

44. Tennessee – 64.3

43. Missouri – 64.5

42. Oklahoma – 64.7

41. Louisiana – 64.9

Most Improved: States showing steady improvement since 2010 and number of points improved

Nevada - +2.4 points

Montana - +2.0

Vermont - +2.0

Nebraska - +1.9

Iowa - +1.3

Maine - +1.3

Arizona - +1

Wisconsin - +1

Mississippi - +0.7

Texas - +0.6

California - +0.6

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Stephanie Pappas
Live Science Contributor

Stephanie Pappas is a contributing writer for Live Science, covering topics ranging from geoscience to archaeology to the human brain and behavior. She was previously a senior writer for Live Science but is now a freelancer based in Denver, Colorado, and regularly contributes to Scientific American and The Monitor, the monthly magazine of the American Psychological Association. Stephanie received a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz.