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).
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:
- New Jersey
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
- New York
- New Hampshire
- Rhode Island
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- New Mexico
- West Virginia
This story originally appeared on September 10, 2019; it was updated on September 23, 2020, to include current information.