Nevadans: Food, shelter, health are lousy

There's an annual Gallup survey that has North Dakota highest in “well being” and West Virginia the most miserable. This is not based on objective measures, like number of cases of suicide, etc., but on asking residents directly how they feel about their states. For example, the state's ranking for healthy behaviors in the Gallup survey depends not on actual figures for people who smoke or drink but on their assessment of their own behavior.

Nevada showed the biggest improvement, up 2.4 percent in people who like it here. That raised Nevada from 39th in 2012 to 26th in 2013. Gallup interviewed 1,440 Nevadans, a relatively high sample in surveys.

The state's strengths, according to its residents, are in its workplaces and in physical health. Nevada ranked fifth in work environment and seventh in physical health.

Less impressive are the state's rankings in life evaluation, in which residents are asked to compare their present situation with their hoped-for or expected situation in five years, and in healthy behaviors. Nevada ranked 34th among the states for life evaluation and 22nd in healthy behaviors.

Worst of all were the state's ranking for access to basic needs—food, shelter, healthcare—and in emotional health. Nevada placed 42nd in the nation in emotional health and 47th in basic access.