Living in the Aloha State may not be as glamorous as it seems with high cost of living and an exceptionally high homeless rate, but that doesn’t mean residents aren’t happy to call Hawaii their home.
“I grew up here; I like it because there’s a sense of community and family. Hawaii is close to my heart,” said Brianne Santa Anna. “With every place, there’s good and bad things. But I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”
Hawaii’s residents reported the highest well-being of any state in the country, according to financial news website 24/7 Wall St.
The site used Gallup-Healthways 2016 Well-Being Index scores and added its own data on health habits and outcomes, educational attainment, crime and several other key socioeconomic measures to come to the conclusion that Hawaii is the place to be if you want to live a happy life.
Gallup surveyed 177,281 people to build their Well-Being Index in partnership with health and wellness organization Healthways. Hawaii ranked first ahead of states like Colorado, Arizona, Vermont and Florida.
“It’s paradise,” said Russ Cummings. “The ocean is everywhere, we’re surrounded by it. The ocean is pretty much my second home. We’re surrounded by sun and rain. It’s the perfect balance.”
A key factor in the study was analyzing social support and how it affects a community’s well-being. One sign of active community life in Hawaii is the state’s high marriage rate and high share of families.
“I have lots of family here. Kauai is a beautiful island. I have lived in other places, but I came back,” said Alannah Fagarang.
Hawaii has the second-most weddings per capita, and families in Hawaii comprise of 69.4 percent of all households, the second-largest share in the country.
“I think it is the happiest place to live in the states; it’s a great place to raise kids,” said Brian Matsumura.
Matsumura told The Garden Island he loves living on Kauai because of the pace and lifestyle, which is something that hits close to home for another local resident, Nelson Acosta.
“This is my hometown. Here, people are one,” Acosta said.
While he does love living in Hawaii and couldn’t imagine living somewhere else, Acosta doesn’t necessarily agree that this is the happiest place in the nation.
“It is a beautiful place, maybe not the happiest place in America, but it is what it is,” he said.
Kathleen Dahill, also doesn’t agree that Hawaii is the happiest state in America. Having said that, she also doesn’t believe that by just living in a certain place you will feel like a better, happier person.
“We have a beautiful island, but geography doesn’t determine the state of your happiness,” Dahill said. “Just like the Dalai Lama said, we are as happy as we choose to be. I think it’s about being content and working with what you have. I’ve lived in lots of places, but I’ve always been me throughout the places I’ve been to. A beautiful environment is nothing if your internal world isn’t where it needs to be.”
But juxtaposed to Dahill’s opinion, Samantha Wise does feel that the environment puts her in a better, happier mood.
“It’s the greenery,” Wise said was the best part of Kauai. “Living here makes me feel safer.”
David McCracken, reporter, can be reached at 245-0424 or firstname.lastname@example.org.