A recent poll suggests that 50 percent of people living in the U.S. say they are “very satisfied” with the way their personal life is going. To examine this further and test out any noteworthy geographical variances, the personal-finance website WalletHub has released a report on 2023’s Happiest States in America.
To determine where U.S. citizens have the highest satisfaction with life, WalletHub compared the 50 states across 30 key indicators of happiness.
The data set ranged from the depression rate and the share of adults feeling productive to income growth and the unemployment rate. Coming bottom of the list was West Virginia. But what were the ‘happiest’ states?
The various metrics combined produced the following top ten ‘happiest’ states:
5. New Jersey
Following this, the next ten were:
13. North Dakota
15. New Hampshire
16. New York
18. South Dakota
20. South Carolina
Beyond the rankings, there were some stand out patterns. For example, Hawaii was found to have the lowest share of adult depression at 11.4 percent. This was calculated as 2.5 times lower than in West Virginia, the state with the highest at 29 percent.
On a different measure, New Jersey was found to have the fewest suicides (per 100,000 residents) at 7, which is 4.6 times fewer than in Wyoming, the state with the greatest number of suicides at 32.
In terms of community support and interaction, Utah was shown to possess the highest volunteer rate at 40.7 percent, which is 2.6 times higher than in Florida, the state where the rate is the lowest at 15.9 percent.
Remaining with Utah, taking martial bliss the state also has the lowest separation and divorce rate, 15.5 percent, which is 1.7 times lower than in New Mexico, the state where the rate is the highest at 25.6 percent.
Commenting on the findings, Ellen Langer, Professor, Department of Psychology – Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences, states: “Once our basic needs are met, money becomes less important to our happiness. People typically want large sums of money to garner the respect of others but it often does not work. If we know why we are doing whatever we are doing, we will feel good about ourselves and be less likely to make mindless comparisons with other people.”