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Opinion: Ohio need not be ‘miserable’ by focusing on positive surroundings

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index annual report for 2013 came out earlier this week, announcing that Ohio is the fifth most miserable state in which to live.

But compared to the happiest state that was stated in the report, North Dakota, I would never leave my precious home of Ohio.

More than 178,000 people were interviewed from all 50 states, according to the Well-Being Index. The study measures the emotional and physical health of citizens.

The people in the study were asked a wide variety of questions that reflect their local health, employment, education and environment. A common theme for states with low well-being ratings was unhealthy lifestyles.

According to the survey, Ohio had a higher median household income that most of the other low ranked states, with the median being about $46,800 in 2012. But only about 49 percent of respondents stated that they were thriving in their lives. This high number contributed to Ohio’s No. 5 ranking.

Ohio was in the bottom 10 states for the categories of life evaluation, emotional health, work environment, physical health and healthy behaviors. In the past five years, Ohio has always been ranked in the top seven most miserable states.

The No. 4 most miserable state was Alabama, then third was Mississippi and coming in second was Kentucky. The winner for most miserable state is our neighbor, West Virginia, which contains the most Americans with a negative outlook on their future.

The survey indicated that the best state to live in was North Dakota because of its growing economy and low unemployment rate.

Though the survey might seem conclusive that Ohio is miserable, it has not convinced me to move from my Buckeye state to North Dakota.

Granted, the weather in Ohio these days is less than ideal, but there is so much more the state offers to make it less miserable.

We have Cedar Point — casually dubbed the best amusement park in the world — and Kings Island for some summertime fun.

We get to experience all of the seasons, though winter doesn’t seem to end and summer consists of humidity and construction.

We have Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams that can make any day better.

We have beaches, even if they are on Lake Erie and only accessible for about two months of the year.

And we can walk around shouting O-H and you are guaranteed to have people respond saying I-O.

Instead of finding the miserables of living in Ohio, there are positives surrounding us everyday.


  1. Ohio State campus is the happiest place in Ohio. Everywhere else in the state, I would say is marginally “happy.”

    There is really no other place in the state that is more positive to be in than at OSU. Amusement parks are for amusement & rides, but OSU’s culture is what makes it an attractive destination for a lot of people not only in the state but in the world.

    Maybe it’s because the population of people at OSU are generally young people who haven’t turned into cynical beings like most adults.

  2. If you go to the Ohio Historical Society, which you should, there is a display that shows the geographical layout of Ohio. More than half was scraped by glaciers in the ice age, leaving it flat and fertile, like Columbus. The rest is hilly and poor, rather like miserable (poor) states Kentucky and West Virginia. Here you find poverty, drug addiction, unemployment,and misery. Also look to urban Cleveland, Toledo, Dayton,and Cincinnati. Plenty of misery there. It’s not about the state itself, it’s about poverty.

  3. I agree that we need to focus on the good in life and this beautiful state. Enjoy the simple things in life such as picnics with your family, your kids ball games, a bright sunshiney day, helping your elderly neighbor with his/her yard work. A lot of enjoyment in life is not something we have to pay for….it’s our faith, our families, our friends…thru good times and bad. I’ve been thru both and at some point you have to focus on the good…to make it thru the bad.

  4. I had a “great” conversation recently with a friend. My child is a buckeye grad and couldn’t wait to get the h@ out of backwoods Ohio and come home. Loved Osu but Columbus not so much. Maybe that explains why my child keeps running into more buckeye grads in this area????? We also discussed why kids from this area (who were marginal go to Ohio and “pretend” they’re intelligent and on top of it all (so sad)??? Personally I’m glad my child enjoyed the buckeye college experience (well hated how many local high school kids followed and brought ignorance) because not many kids can say that. Every state has its good/bad……

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