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This state shockingly came in last place on a new quality of life ranking


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Photo: Stocksy/Kevin Russ

Based the number of fitness companies and boutique studios that originate in or spread quickly throughout California and New York, it’s tempting to assume residents of those states have it all figured out when it comes to living their best life. Earlier this week, however, US News & World Report released its annual ranking of states according to quality of life and smashed that assumption: Not only are four of the five best states for quality of life in the Midwest, but California came in dead last.

Each state was evaluated using a number of environmental (air quality, drinking-water quality, pollution) and social (community engagement, social connectedness, voter participation) factors. In explaining how it landed on those determining factors, the report noted that aside from environment being crucial to health, studies have indicated that feeling socially supported is linked to better physical and mental health as well as increased happiness.

The five states with the highest quality of life are North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, and South Dakota. The five states with the lowest quality of life are—somewhat surprisingly—California, New Jersey, Indiana, Illinois, and Texas.

The five states with the highest quality of life are North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, and South Dakota. The five states with the lowest quality of life are—somewhat surprisingly—California, New Jersey, Indiana, Illinois, and Texas. Hawaii, which ranks high on other lists like healthiest, happiest, and most camping-friendly states, sits in the bottom half when it comes to quality of life (36th). And New York, which is the home base for a ton of wellness-focused initiatives and companies, is slumped just below Hawaii at 37th.

So, on your next road trip, be sure to visit the Midwest to see what those high-ranking states are doing right.

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