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Bloomberg Rankings isolated 13 variables from the United Health Foundation's America's Health Rankings to determine each state's Misery Score. For each variable, the state with the maximum misery value received 100 points, while the state with the minimum value received 0 points. All other states received points in proportion to where their values fell between the two extremes. Each state's 13 scores were then averaged for a final Misery Score. A higher score indicates greater misery. We also calculated the percentage change for each variable from 2008 to 2011, and averaged the changes for an overall percent change score--with a higher score indicating a greater increase in misery from 2008 to 2011.
Air pollution levels refer to micrograms of fine particles per cubic meter. High school graduation rates refer to percent of incoming ninth graders who graduate within four years. Poor health days refer to the number of days in which a person could not perform work or household tasks due to poor mental or physical health. Premature death refers to loss of years of productive life due to death before age 75. Personal income refers to income from all sources and is not inflation adjusted. For income distribution, a higher Gini ratio indicates greater income inequality. Unemployment plus underemployment refers to total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers, plus total employed part-time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers. Employment data is as of end-June 2012. All other data is from 2011.
Sources: America's Health Rankings-United Health Foundation, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics