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Survey Ranks North Dakota Happiest

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An annual survey came out last week measuring, which state has the happiest people. North Dakota made the top 10, but the question is which number.

The survey evaluated each state by six different areas, such as life evaluation, emotional health, work environment, physical health, healthy behaviors and basic access to health services.

"I'm surprised that we are ranked number one because there are a lot of places we think that would be the ideal place to go," says Mayor Ward Koeser. "Go to Hawaii the temperatures are always the same. Everybody is beautiful, and there's sand on the beaches. But we're recognizing that people think other things are important as well. Having a good job is important to people."

Koeser has been in office for more than 20 years and can understand why the state was so highly acclaimed. He says the perception about Williston might be changing as well.

"I think we are finding that things are settling down even in Williston," says Koeser. "Sure it's a lot more stressful here than it probably is in a Fargo or other parts of the state, but we are better off today then we were a year ago. I think most people are recognizing we are going to be better off a year down the road."

A lot has changed in Williston in the past year and will continue to. Especially with the amount of people that continue to come to town for opportunities. The survey also showed that the state ranked number one in work environment and physical health.

Residents of Williston say that things are better than what most people think. She isn't the only one that feels that way.

"I think it's what you make of it." Stacy Hauge says. "You can be happy anywhere if the happiness is in your heart. I don't think it's like the wild west here, but I don't go where it's real wild."

Stacy Hauge has been a resident of North Dakota for 38 years and was raised about 150 miles from Williston. She went to college in town and stayed here. She says the town has all the luxuries every other town has, it's just cold.

North Dakota moved up 18 spots in one year as it was ranked 19th last year.

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