Happiness comes from a combination of internal and external factors. We can influence it somewhat by approaching situations positively or choosing to spend time with people we love, doing activities we enjoy. Some years, it’s harder to be happy than others, though. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted life as we know it, causing sickness, limiting social interactions and leading to widespread job losses. During these trials, which have had a strong negative impact on Americans’ mental health, WalletHub searched for the states where people can stay positive despite the circumstances.
In this study, WalletHub drew upon the findings of “happiness” research to determine which environmental factors are linked to a person’s overall well-being and satisfaction with life. Previous studies have found that good economic, emotional, physical and social health are all key to a well-balanced and fulfilled life.
To determine where Americans exhibit the best combination of these factors, we examined the 50 states across 32 key metrics, ranging from the depression rate and the positive COVID-19 testing rate to income growth and the unemployment rate. Read on for our findings, additional insight from a panel of experts and a full description of our methodology.
Happiest States In America
|1. Hawaii||11. Nebraska|
|2. Utah||12. South Dakota|
|3. Minnesota||13. Massachusetts|
|4. New Jersey||14. Virginia|
|5. Maryland||15. Washington|
|6. California||16. Vermont|
|7. North Dakota||17. New York|
|8. Iowa||18. Wisconsin|
|9. Idaho||19. Nevada|
|10. Connecticut||20. Arizona|
Best vs. Worst
- New Jersey has the lowest share of adult depression, 11.66 percent, which is 2.3 times lower than in West Virginia, which has the highest at 27.25 percent.
- New York and New Jersey have the fewest suicides (per 100,000 residents), 8, which is 3.1 times fewer than in Wyoming, which has the most at 25.
- North Dakota has the lowest long-term unemployment rate, 13.10 percent, which is 3.4 times lower than in New Mexico, which has the highest at 44.90 percent.
- Utah has the highest volunteer rate, 51.00 percent, which is 2.2 times higher than in Florida, where the rate is the lowest at 22.80 percent.
- Utah has the lowest separation and divorce rate, 15.80 percent, which is 1.7 times lower than in Nevada, which has the highest at 26.28 percent.