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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, February 13, 2010

Poll finds Hawaii no longer happiest

Advertiser Staff


State Percentage Satisfied

1. North Dakota 82.3

2. South Dakota 80.8

3. Alaska 80.4

4. Minnesota 79.4

5. Iowa 79.0

9. Hawaii 77.4

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State Percentage Satisfied

50. Nevada 69.0

49. Rhode Island 69.8

48. Michigan 70.1

47. Ohio 70.9

46. Georgia 71.0

Source: Gallup Inc.

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Hawai'i residents were less satisfied with their standard of living last year, with the state sliding from its top ranking in 2008 to ninth place last year, according to the results of Gallup Inc. polls.

The results released yesterday said 77.4 percent of Hawai'i adults last year said they were satisfied with their own standard of living, which, in Gallup's way of describing it, is all the things you can buy and do.

In 2008, 81 percent of Hawai'i adults had responded they were satisfied, highest among the 50 states.

The survey marks a slight departure for the state, which has typically ranked highly in polls revolving around how good they feel about their lives. Last August, the state came out on top of a Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index survey.

But it appears that the economic downturn has taken a toll on the state. It has been slipping down the rankings of the Happiness Index, most recently coming in at ninth place. The poll attempts to measure the financial good fortune of states by looking at household income, debt, employment and foreclosures.

Gallup, in its standard of living report, noted there was a seeming link between states where residents are satisfied about their standard of living and have the least negative perceptions about the economy.

It said the reverse is also true. In states where residents have higher negative economic perceptions, there is lower satisfaction.

Gallup found that Hawai'i's economic confidence, or optimism in the economy, had improved during the past year, but not as much as most other states.

Still, it noted Hawai'i had higher standard of living satisfaction than would be expected given its economic confidence score.