We all have our good days and bad days. Some days we are sad, and some we are happy. We can feel happiness because of a promotion, an upcoming trip, time with family, or the place we live.
Happiness is based on several factors, both internal and external, and some more important than others. Some states in the U.S. are considered happier than others. However, can you measure happiness?
In order to determine which states are the happiest in the United States, WalletHub looked at both internal and external factors in the form of different metrics in three categories:
- Emotional & Physical Well-Being
- Work Environment
- Community & Environment
The categories are broken down into 31 metrics. These metrics include the number of work hours, job security, adult depression, income growth, and the weather, among others. Each metric is given a different weight and is graded on a scale from zero to 100, with 100 corresponding with maximum happiness. Each state’s weighted average across all metrics was determined to calculate its overall score. The resulting ranks created WalletHub's Happiest States in America.
At the top of the list is Hawaii, which ranked first overall and first for emotional & physical well-being. Hawaii has the lowest share of adult depression of any state and the fifth-lowest divorce rate in the country. Additionally, Hawaii has the fifth-highest income growth. Hawaii residents enjoy many days of sunshine and healthy, active, outdoor lifestyles. Additionally, the state has the longest average lifespan in the U.S. of 81.48 years.
Utah is the second-happiest state in the United States. Utah ranks first for work environment and second for community & environment. Utah residents not only are hard workers and enjoy their work more than residents of any other state, but they also work the fewest hours. Utah also has the highest volunteer rate, the lowest divorce rate, and is the fourth-safest state. Like residents of Hawaii, Utah residents enjoy a very active, outdoor lifestyles, keeping them mentally and physically healthy.
Minnesota is the third-happiest state in the U.S. Minnesota ranks third for emotional and physical well-being and sixth for work environment. Minnesota is the safest state in the country, has the third-lowest divorce rate, and the second-highest volunteer rate. Minnesota residents are known for being some of the friendliest and most-inclusive people in the country, despite having some of the most intense winters in the country.
The fourth-happiest state in the U.S. is California. California ranks fourth overall for emotional & physical well-being with the third-highest sports participation rate and the fifth-lowest suicide rate. Californians also have the fifth-fewest work hours. Weather is a big factor for California’s happiness as many parts experience mild weather year-round. A separate study by WalletHub that ranked the ten happiest cities included eight California cities in the top ten.
5. New Jersey
New Jersey is the fifth-happiest state in the U.S. New Jersey ranks second for emotional & physical well-being, including having the second-lowest suicide rate in the country and the fourth-lowest divorce rate. Unfortunately, New Jersey does have the second-highest long-term unemployment rate.
The sixth-happiest state in the United States is Idaho. Idaho ranks first for community & environment and second for work environment. Idaho residents have the sixth-best adequate sleep rate, which is an easy way to ensure a better mood. Idaho also has the 11th-lowest percent of depressed adults, the 13th-highest volunteer rate, and the 14th-lowest separation and divorce rate.
Massachusetts is the seventh-happiest state in the U.S. Massachusetts ranks third for work environment and eighth for emotional and physical well-being. Massachusetts has the third-lowest rate of suicide and ranks fourth for the fewest work hours. Massachusetts is the most highly-educated state in the U.S., allowing people to reach career goals and live very comfortable lives.
Maryland ranks eighth as the happiest state in the United States. For emotional & physical well-being, Maryland ranks fifth with the fourth-lowest suicide rate in the country. Unfortunately, Maryland also has the fifth-highest long-term unemployment rate in the country.
Nebraska is the ninth-happiest state in the U.S. The state ranks ninth for emotional & physical well-being. Nebraska has a lot to offer, such as very friendly people, plenty of outdoor scenery and natural wonders, and a strong job market. Residents enjoy a slightly slower, simpler way of life, reducing overall stress and anxiety.
Finishing the top ten happiest states in the U.S. is Connecticut, which ranks sixth for emotional & physical well-being. Connecticut has the fifth-lowest suicide rate in the U.S., tied with California, and is ranked as the fifth-safest state. Connecticut’s violent crime rate is 255 incidents per 100,000 people, compared to 449 per 100,000 nationwide.