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Gallup asks Americans which states are best, worst

What's the best state to live in America? A new Gallup poll seeks to answer that question by grilling the experts — people who live in each state.

Gallup asked residents of each of the 50 states how their state's living conditions stacked up against the competition. Participants could choose whether their state was "the best possible state to live in," "one of the best possible states to live in," "as good a state as any to live in," or "the worst possible state to live in."

According to their residents, the top five states in the U.S. are: Montana, Alaska, Utah, Wyoming, and Texas, with around 60-70 percent of residents claiming their state is among the best. Conversely, the worst five states to live in are Rhode Island, Illinois, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Michigan; there, only 20-30 percent of residents are feeling proud of their state. (Via USA Today)

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The poll's findings lead to some pretty unsurprising conclusions: Most of the happiest states in the union boasted a higher standard of living, more trust in state government, and less resentment towards state taxes. In general, Western and Midwestern states tend to have the rosiest outlook in the poll.

But the poll also uncovered a few less-obvious trends: States with happy residents tended to be cold, mountainous, and sparsely populated. Gallup also points out the two most popular states — Montana and Alaska — both share a border with Canada.

The exception to the rule is, of course, Texas. While the hot and crowded Lone Star State didn't win the broader poll as one of the best states to live in, 28 percent of Texans think their state is hands down the best state to live in — edging out even the most popular states. (Via Wikimedia Commons / Makaristos)

On the flip side, a whopping 25 percent of "self-loathing" Illinois residents think their state is the worst state to live in, an attitude the  Chicagoist blames on "a one party-dominant political system, corruption and complacency at state and municipal levels of government and crumbling infrastructure."

The Gallup poll was conducted from June to December of 2013, and was based on a random sample of 600 adults from each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

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