We all have our good days and bad days. Some days we are sad, and some, we are happy. We can feel happy 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?
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 weighted differently and 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.
Top Ten Happiest States in the U.S.
At the top of the list is Hawaii, which ranked first overall with a score of 69.58. Hawaii ranks second for Emotional & Physical Well-Being. Hawaii has the second-lowest share of adult depression of any state, the fifth-highest income growth rate, and the country's fourth-lowest divorce rate. 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 first 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 fourth for Emotional & Physical Well-Being and fourth for Work Environment. Minnesota is the third-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.
4. New Jersey
New Jersey is the fourth-happiest state in the United States. New Jersey ranks second for Emotional & Physical Well-Being, including having the lowest adult depression rate and the country's lowest suicide rate. New Jersey also has the third-lowest divorce rate. Unfortunately, New Jersey does have the second-highest long-term unemployment rate.
Maryland ranks fifth as the happiest state in the United States. For Emotional & Physical Well-Being, Maryland ranks third with the fifth-lowest suicide rate in the country. Unfortunately, Maryland also has the fifth-highest long-term unemployment rate in the country.
The sixth-happiest state in the U.S. is California. California ranks seventh for Emotional & Physical Well-Being with the fourth-lowest adult depression 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. California is considered to have the best weather among U.S. states.
7. North Dakota
North Dakota is the seventh-happiest U.S. state. North Dakota ranks third for Work Environment, ranking first for the lowest long-term unemployment rate. Unfortunately, North Dakota residents also have the second-highest work hours of any state, only second to Alaska. North Dakota also has the second-lowest divorce rate.
Iowa comes in at eighth on the happiest states list. Iowa ranks sixth for Work Environment, with the third-lowest long-term unemployment rate in the country. Its long-term unemployment rate is about 4.62%; however, it is currently sitting at 3.10% as of the end of 2020. Iowa also has the fourth-highest volunteer rate.
The ninth-happiest state in the United States is Idaho. Idaho ranks second for Work Environment and second for Community & 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.
Finishing the top ten happiest states in the U.S. is Connecticut, which ranks fifth for Emotional & Physical well-being. Connecticut has the fifth-lowest work hours in the U.S., tied with California. Connecticut is also a very safe state, with a crime rate of 1,610,19 incidents per 100,000 people, sixth-lowest in the country.