At least we’re not West Virginia

David Fong Contributing Columnist

If you are reading this, there’s a very good chance you are miserable (although hopefully not because you are, in fact, reading this column).

There’s good news, however! Not only are you miserable, but you’re probably also overweight, unemployed and going to die soon!

And guess what? It’s only getting worse!

A recent Gallup-Healthways survey asked 176,000 Americans in different states a variety of questions in an effort to determine which states were the most miserable to live in and, alternately, which states’ residents were the most content.

As it turns out, Ohio is the fourth-most miserable state in which to live, according to the survey. This means things are actually worse than they were when the last poll was taken in 2014, when Ohio was only the fifth-most-miserable state in the union.

The five most miserable states were, in descending order: Indiana (apparently our misery is spreading west), Ohio, Oklahoma (probably the tornadoes), Kentucky (can’t live on horse races, basketball and tobacco alone, I guess) and, the most miserable state in the union, West Virginia (which really calls into question the validity of that John Denver “Country Roads” song).

Not only is West Virginia miserable now, but apparently it has been for quite some time. This is the sixth such poll in a row in which the Mountaineer State has been ranked the most miserable state in which to live.

Perhaps Ohio should consider changing its motto from “With God, All Things Are Possible,” to “Hey, At Least We’re Not West Virginia!”

The poll used a variety of factors to come with with a “well-being index score.” Part of the reason Ohio is apparently so miserable is because of its poverty rate (15.8 percent, 20th highest in the nation), percentage of obese residents (32.6 percent, eighth highest in the country), median household income ($46,829, 17th lowest) and percentage of residents with a high school diploma (88.8 percent, 25th highest).

There were several other factors that were included. Just 49.3 percent of the respondents stated they were thriving in their lives in the last year, one of the lowest proportions in the nation. Meanwhile, Ohio was amongst the nation’s leaders in “residents who have felt angry that day.”

I bet the residents who felt angry all day are probably still steaming from that loss to Michigan State last November. I know I am.

The poll also found that, on average, folks in Ohio tend to binge drink at a rate well above the national average. Well, I’d like to personally apologize to my fellow residents in the Buckeye state for helping to raise the average for everyone else.

In any event, I can live with Ohio’s being one of the most miserable states in the United States. I have to admit, however, that I take some umbrage with the states that were listed as the most content in the country.

The top five most content states are: 5. Wyoming (That’s still a state?), 4. Colorado (Gee, I wonder why they are so happy? Puff, puff.), 3. Montana (Huh … I thought they were annexed by Canada), 2. Alaska (They are probably happy Sarah Palin is out on the campaign trail and not actually in the state) and 1. Hawaii (People living in a tropical paradise are happy … didn’t see that coming).

Of course, that’s all probably just sour grapes on my part. I am pretty angry today.

Or so the polls tell me.

David Fong Contributing Columnist Fong Contributing Columnist

Reach David Fong at [email protected]; follow him on Twitter @thefong.

Reach David Fong at [email protected]; follow him on Twitter @thefong.

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