PRINCETON, N.J., Feb. 13 (UPI) -- Alaskans were the happiest with their standard of living in 2013 and West Virginians the least, the Gallup Organization said Thursday.
Gallup conducted interviews with at least 500 residents of each state during the year, asking them whether they are satisfied with their standard of living and whether it is going up or down. The index numbers for states are based on the percentage of residents who give positive answers to both questions.
Alaska had a score of 53, with North Dakota, Hawaii and the District of Columbia also scoring more than 50. At 22, West Virginia was significantly below the next least satisfied states, Maine at 31 and Rhode Island with 32.
Gallup said states with no income tax tend to rank high on satisfaction with the standard of living. Alaskans not only pay no state tax on their earnings but receive payments from oil tax revenues.
Satisfaction also tends to be higher in states where employment is on the upswing, Gallup said. That explains North Dakota's high ranking -- and the low one for West Virginia.
The standard of living questions are asked during Gallup's Daily Tracking survey. Gallup interviewed 178,068 adults from January through December 2013.