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This Is the Happiest State in the U.S.

By Katherine LaGrave

Sep 23, 2020

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

Photo by Shutterstock

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

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 shave 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 32 metrics, including depression rate, positive COVID-19 testing rate, income growth, and unemployment rate.

Out of a total score of 100, Hawaii got 69.58, ranking first overall. Utah (69.42), Minnesota (65.87), New Jersey (64.10), and Maryland (61.78) rounded out the top performers. Kentucky (38.29), Louisiana (38.15), Oklahoma (37.66), Arkansas (36.83), and West Virginia (30.58) are the bottom five.

Other notable findings from the study? Utah has the fewest work hours, while Alaska has the most. (Utah also has the highest volunteer rate.) Maine came in on top as the safest state, while Colorado 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 2020 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. New Jersey
  5. Maryland
  6. California
  7. North Dakota
  8. Iowa
  9. Idaho
  10. Connecticut
  11. Nebraska
  12. South Dakota
  13. Massachusetts
  14. Virginia
  15. Washington
  16. Vermont
  17. New York
  18. Wisconsin
  19. Nevada
  20. Arizona
  21. New Hampshire
  22. Georgia
  23. Colorado
  24. Delaware
  25. Texas
  26. Rhode Island
  27. Florida
  28. Pennsylvania
  29. Illinois
  30. Maine
  31. Wyoming
  32. North Carolina
  33. Kansas
  34. South Carolina
  35. Ohio
  36. Indiana
  37. Michigan
  38. Montana
  39. New Mexico
  40. Missouri
  41. Oregon
  42. Alaska
  43. Alabama
  44. Mississippi
  45. Tennessee
  46. Kentucky
  47. Louisiana
  48. Oklahoma
  49. Arkansas
  50. West Virginia

This story originally appeared on September 10, 2019; it was updated on September 23, 2020, to include current information.

 >> Next: You Can Visit Hawaii Without a Quarantine Starting October 15

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