These Are the Happiest States in America (Video)
Hawaii has once again been named the happiest state in America, according to a new ranking by WalletHub.
Though really, who could blame the people of the Aloha State for having a little spring in their step? They do, after all, have an average temperature that hovers between 70 and 88 degrees all year long, and get to experience 11 different climate zones all in one state.
But it’s not just about the beautiful weather. According to WalletHub, it determined its rankings by examining “the 50 states across 31 key metrics, ranging from depression rate to sports participation rate to income growth.”
The metrics included emotional and physical well-being, work environment, community, and environment. Each metric was then graded on a 100-point scale, “with a score of 100 representing maximum happiness.”
Hawaii came out on top thanks to ranking No. 1 for “emotional and physical well-being.” It ranked number 30 in “work environment” and number four in “community and environment.” In total, Hawaii scored a 68.27 on Wallethub’s scale.
“Hawaii’s happiness [ranking] is really attributed to culture,” Pamela Gail Johnson, founder of The Secret Society of Happy People, told NBC. “There's a city environment, but culturally, it's more laid-back, which contributes to emotional and physical well-being. There’s lots of beaches, walking and hiking. It’s an environment that fosters a ‘stop and smell the roses’ mentality.”
Coming in close at second is Utah, with an overall score of 67.84. Utah ranked No. 18 in “emotional and physical well-being.” It ranked No. 1 in “work environment” and No. 2 in “community and environment.”
Rounding out the top 10, Minnesota came in third with a score of 67.26, North Dakota ranked fourth at 65.62, followed by California at 63.14, Idaho at 63.09, Maryland at 61.78, Iowa at 61.07, and South Dakota at 60.80.
Oklahoma, Alaska, Louisiana, Arkansas, and finally West Virginia came in as the least happy states in the nation.
"There are some differences from last year's results, like Hawaii moving up from third to first place this year, or North Dakota up from 14th to fourth this year,” Jill Gonzalez, a WalletHub analyst, told NBC, adding that she doesn’t encourage people to compare year-over-year rankings because the company has updated its methodology.
Though this ranking can give great insight into things states might want to improve on, it’s important to note that there are ways to make your home happier, wherever you are.
“Happiness comes down to being physically and emotionally healthy, pursuing things that are meaningful to us personally and contributing to something larger than ourselves,” Frank Niles, PhD, a social scientist, adventure athlete, and executive educator, told NBC. “If you think about it, the most meaningful experiences we’ve had in our lives have been with other people. So, if you were to ask me, ‘What can I do to become more happy?’ I would say live fully in the present, seek ways to make a difference in the lives of other people every day, and make time in your life to build healthy relationships that are defined by giving and receiving support.”
Check out WalletHub’s complete ranking to find where your state stands on the list.