In 1971, American country singer John Denver released a song titled Take Me Home, Country Road, which immortalised the state, West Virginia, as a place that feels like heaven because of its beauty.
Known for its mountains and diverse topography which yields picturesque sceneries, the state unfortunately leads Forbes Magazine's list of top 5 most stressful states.
The basis of Forbes in listing West Virginia as the most stressful among the 50 states is the yearly Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index tracks that monitors stress levels of Americans. They survey covered 350,000 respondents over 12 months and were asked the question: "Did you feel stressed during a lot of the day yesterday?"
About 47.1 per cent of West Virginians said yes to that question, largely attributed to the state's unemployment rate of 8.2 per cent as of October 2011, which is a big turnaround from the pre-2008 global financial crisis days when West Virginia was one of only four U.S. states with a surplus state budget.
Here is the complete list of the top 5 most stressful and least stressful states and the percentage of residents who felt stressed living in their areas.
1. West Virginia - 47.1%
2. Rhode Island - 46.3%
3. Kentucky - 44.8%
4. Utah - 44.6%
5. Massachusetts - 43.4%
1. Hawaii - 32.1%
2. Louisiana - 37.6%
3. Mississippi - 37.9%
4. Iowa - 38.1%
5. Wyoming - 38.6%
Gallup noted that Hawaii has been topping the least stress level in the past five years. With the sea by their side, coconut trees and other beachside attractions 24/7, plus its tropical weather, it is small wonder that Hawaii residents hardly feel any stress living in the Pacific isles.
If West Virginians have John Denver's songs, Hawaiians, in turn, have Elvis Presley's Blue Hawaii proclaiming the island's allure.
West Virginians' perception of stress, however, does not change the fact that the state is a beautiful place, as proven by the song becoming #2 in U.S. Billboard Hot 100, and it was adopted by the West Virginia University as its theme song.