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This Is the Happiest State in the U.S.

By Katherine LaGrave

09.10.19

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With landscapes like these, it’s no wonder Hawaii is the happiest state in the U.S.

Photo by Alexander Demyanenko/Shutterstock

With landscapes like these, it’s no wonder Hawaii is the happiest state in the U.S.

A new study from WalletHub ranks all 50 states on more than 30 metrics.

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Hawaii is known for having the country’s best shaved ice, black-sand beaches, and snorkeling. Now, it can add another accolade to its list: It’s the nation’s happiest state, according to a new study from finance publication WalletHub.

To determine which state came out the happiest, WalletHub examined all 50 across 31 metrics, including sports participation, rate of depression, income growth, commute time, ideal weather, and more. Out of a total score of 100, Hawaii got 66.48, ranking first for “emotional and physical well-being.” Utah (65.03), Minnesota (65.57), California (64.11), and New Jersey (60.54) rounded out the top performers. Louisiana (38.41), Mississippi (38.38), Alaska (36.48), Arkansas (34.07), and West Virginia (33.73) are the bottom five.

Other notable findings from the study? Utah has the fewest work hours, while Louisiana has the most. (Utah also has the highest volunteer rate.) Minnesota came in on top as the safest state, while Washington took first for the highest sports participation rate. 

Interestingly enough, the study notes, one thing that doesn’t really drive happiness is money: A 2018 analysis in the journal Nature Human Behavior found that “optimal well-being” was not when people were millionaires, but when they earned between $60,000 and $75,000 a year, as being “too wealthy” can lead to a dip in emotional health and life satisfaction. (A silver lining, if a very small one.) 

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This tracks with results of the 2018 World Happiness Report, which found that Finland topped the list of the world’s happiest countries because of a strong social support system, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, absence of corruption, and generosity.

Here, a complete ranking of the happiest states in the country:

1. Hawaii
2. Utah
3. Minnesota
4. North Dakota
5. California
6. Idaho
7. Maryland
8. Iowa
9. South Dakota
10. Nebraska
11. Wisconsin
12. Connecticut 
13. New Jersey
14. New York
15. Virginia
16. Massachusetts
17. Washington
18. Colorado
19. Georgia
20. North Carolina
21. Arizona
22. Texas
23. Illinois
24. New Hampshire
25. Kansas
26. Nevada
27. Delaware
28. Montana
29. Florida
30. Pennsylvania
31. Rhode Island
32. Indiana
33. Maine
34. Michigan
35. Wyoming
36. South Carolina
37. Ohio
38. Vermont
39. Oregon
40. Tennessee
41. New Mexico
42. Missouri
43. Mississippi
44. Kentucky
45. Alabama
46. Oklahoma
47. Alaska
48. Louisiana
49. Arkansas
50. West Virginia 

 >> Next: Why This Year Is the Year to Visit Hawaii

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