Daily Briefing

Mapped: The happiest (and unhappiest) states in America


WalletHub earlier this month released its "Happiest States in America" list for 2023, with Utah taking the top spot.

Methodology

To create the list, WalletHub compared 50 U.S. states on 30 metrics across three key dimensions:

  • Emotional and physical well-being, which includes career well-being, physical health index, and social well-being (50 points)
  • Work environment, which includes number of work hours, commute time, and current unemployment rate (25 points)
  • Community and environment, which includes volunteer rate, ideal weather, and safety (25 points)

WalletHub graded each metric on a 100-point scale, with a 100 representing maximum happiness. Each state's overall score was calculated by using the weighted average across all metrics. The overall scores were then used to rank each state.

The happiest (and unhappiest) US states

According to WalletHub, the 10 happiest US states in 2023 were:

1.       Utah, which scored a 69.79

2.       Hawaii, which scored a 66.42

3.       Maryland, which scored a 64.62

4.       Minnesota, which scored a 62.82

5.       New Jersey, which scored a 61.98

6.       Connecticut, which scored a 60.68

7.       California, which scored a 60.53

8.       Florida, which scored a 59.31

9.       Idaho, which scored a 59.31

10.   Nebraska, which scored a 58.92

In comparison, the 10 unhappiest U.S. states in 2023 were:

1.       West Virginia, which scored a 35.08

2.       Louisiana, which scored a 35.86

3.       Tennessee, which scored a 38.3

4.       Arkansas, which scored a 39.72

5.       Kentucky, which scored a 40.58

6.       Alabama, which scored a 40.82

7.       Mississippi, which scored a 41.42

8.       Alaska, which scored a 42.2

9.       New Mexico, which scored a 43.49

10.   Oklahoma, which scored a 44.09

WalletHub also highlighted the happiest and unhappiest states in several different metrics, including:

  • Share of adult depression: Hawaii had the lowest rate, and West Virginia had the highest
  • Adequate sleep rate: Colorado had the highest rate, and West Virginia had the lowest
  • Sports participation rate: Colorado had the highest, and Mississippi had the lowest
  • Suicide rate: New Jersey had the lowest, and Wyoming had the highest
  • Mean work hours: Utah had the fewest hours, and Alaska had the highest
  • Long-term unemployment rate: North and South Dakota were tied for the lowest rate, and Nevada had the highest
  • Income growth: California had the highest income growth, and Alaska had the lowest
  • Volunteer rate: Utah had the highest volunteer rate, and Florida had the lowest
  • Divorce rate: Utah had the lowest divorce rate, and New Mexico had the highest
  • Safety: Vermont was the safest state, and Louisiana was the least safe

(McCann, WalletHub, 9/12)


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