These are the Happiest States in the U.S.

What is happiness, and how do we achieve it? If you’ve asked yourself this question before, you’re not alone. In pursuing this pleasant and positive state of mind, humans have learned that various factors like activities, the people we surround ourselves with, and the environment we live in all shape us. Happiness comes from comprehensive dimensions like community and environment, emotional and physical well-being, and work environment.

To find out which states are the happiest in America, WalletHub designated thirty relevant metrics across key dimensions of happiness. Factors like career well-being, physical health index, social well-being, life expectancy, food insecurity rate, number of work hours, unemployment rate, economic security, median credit score, volunteer rate, separation rate, safety, and even weather were carefully analyzed and weighed.

We know that happiness is a key component of good health, and we all strive to reach the point where we can all be happy. But have you ever wondered what the top ten happiest States in America are? The answer is finally here. Find out what makes these states so special, and you might even be tempted to pack your bags and make the next big move!


Salt Lake City, Utah, USA downtown city skyline at dusk
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sean Pavone

We know what you’re thinking. What makes Utah stand out and what makes its population reach a total score of 69.79 out of 100 on the WalletHub happiness scale? While the Beehive State only came in 16th place for emotional and physical well-being, Utah ranked #1 when it comes to work environment and community and environment. On top of a very low unemployment rate, the state boasts the country’s highest volunteer rate at over 40%.

This fast-growing state has high economic security and fast technological growth. This is complemented by the fact that Utah is one of the safest states in the U.S. and has the lowest divorce rate in the country.

It is also worth saying there may be an association between the state’s happiness score and its predominantly Mormon population. With around 60% of people following The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it is possible that religious beliefs played a role in influencing certain factors such as low separation rate and high volunteering rate.


Skyline of Honolulu, Hawaii and the surrounding area including the hotels and buildings on Waikiki Beach
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Izabela23

It’s no surprise that one of America’s most picturesque states ranks the highest in emotional and physical well-being. Though it came in 25th in work environment and 30th in community and environment, Hawaii excels in physical health, emotional health, and career well-being metrics. It has the lowest depression rate in the country and one of the lowest divorce rates across the continent.

In Hawaii, people are generally content with their careers and have a feeling of ‘purpose’ that keeps them going. Unlocking this purpose is no easy feat, but it can greatly change the mindset of any individual, influencing everything from their performance to emotional health in return. Despite maintaining the status of a tourist hotspot for years, Hawaii remains the fifth safest state, with a total happiness score of 66.42 out of 100.


Annapolis, Maryland, USA from Annapolis Harbor at dusk
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sean Pavone

Here comes Maryland, the state famous for its Chesapeake Bay blue crabs and abundant natural resources. But let’s be honest for a second: There’s much more to it, and that is reflected in the population’s high happiness score of 64.62 out of 100.

The Old Line State is the only one on this list that ranked in the top ten in all three categories analyzed. Placing fourth in work environment, fifth in community and environment, and eighth in emotional and physical well-being, this well-rounded, happy state boasts one of the country’s lowest depression and suicide rates. Besides good job opportunities and work ethic, Maryland has plenty of recreational spaces and beautiful nature to keep residents content.

Fun fact: According to WalletHub’s data, Maryland is also home to the seventh-happiest city in the United States – the peaceful community of Columbia.


Minneapolis downtown skyline in Minnesota, USA at sunset
Image Credit: Shutterstock / f11photo

Minnesota came in fourth with an overall happiness score of 62.82 out of 100. A healthy work environment seems to be the top priority in this state, where unemployment sits at just 2.6%. While the state ranked third in the work environment category, it came in tenth in the emotional and physical well-being and thirteenth in the community and environment categories.

It’s no surprise that the state’s results were so well-rounded, considering Minnesotans are getting the second-best sleep in the country. Good sleep has long been proven to have a positive impact on people’s overall health. It is also hard to ignore the fact that the Land of 10,000 Lakes is no stranger to scenic destinations offering a relaxing experience to those looking to take a break from work in the city.

New Jersey

Aerial panorama of Jersey City skyline at sunset
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Mihai_Andritoiu

The Garden State came in third on the emotional and physical well-being charts, with the population being one of the healthiest in the country. Low suicide and depression rates are a thing here, and so is the admirable physical health index and social well-being of people. Beautiful countryside, historic towns, and miles of gorgeous coastline make living in this state much better.

Unfortunately, New Jersey has one of the country’s highest unemployment rates, and this issue likely contributed to the state ranking 14th in the work environment. Cold winters and humid summers are also not very appreciated, with New Jersey ranking just 29th in the community and environment sector. On the plus side, people in this state of 9.2 million seem to stick together, making New Jersey one with the lowest divorce rate. New Jersey earned a solid total score of 61.98 points on the happiness scale.


Hartford, Connecticut, USA downtown skyline
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sean Pavone

Connecticut is a good place to live, with a total happiness score of 60.68 out of 100. The state came in 6th in emotional and physical well-being and 8th in community and environment. While social well-being, life expectancy, and strong mental health are all proud features of the population, Connecticut suffers work-related challenges that prevent it from ranking even higher on this list.

Connecticut ranked 32nd in the work environment ranking, and it was in the bottom five regarding income growth and unemployment. Scores for commute time, job security, and economic security were also far from ideal.


Beautiful sunset of Los Angeles downtown skyline and palm trees
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Marek Masik

California arguably has the best year-round weather among all the U.S. states, which is reflected in the overall happiness score of 60.53 out of 100. It’s also the country’s most visited and arguably most diverse and beautiful state. Ranking fifth in the emotional and physical well-being department, California boasts low rates of mental health issues and is known to have one of the healthiest populations in the country. Contrary to popular belief, California is also one of the states with the lowest divorce rate.

While it managed to secure a strong tenth place in the community and environment category, California has the most evident struggles with work environment out of all states on this list. Ranking 34th in the category, California has plenty of room for improvement, specifically in job security, work hours, and financial security.


South Beach, Miami Beach. Florida.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Mia2you

Like California, Florida has no shortage of warm days, sandy beaches, and scenic destinations to keep your mind clear and wash away any worries. Therefore, the state came in second for emotional and physical well-being, indicating that life in Florida is just as comfortable as possible. It is also a fairly healthy state with the second-lowest depression rate in the U.S.

On the negative side, Florida suffers from one of the lowest volunteerism rates in the country, whereas the divorce rate is not much better. Contributing to its ranking as the 44th state in the community and environment rank is humid weather that isn’t as idyllic as it may seem. In the work environment category, Florida came in 21st. Despite its obvious issues, Florida can be considered a pretty happy state with a total score of 59.31 out of 100.


Capital and skyline of Boise Idaho with balloons in flight
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Charles Knowles

Also known as the Gem State, Idaho is the 13th largest state known for a long history of producing a variety of gemstones. But all the shine and glitter alone isn’t enough to bring this state out of problems concerning social well-being and mental health. With nearly one-third of adults reporting symptoms of depression or anxiety, Idaho ranked 30th in emotional and physical well-being.

What the state lacks in this category, it makes up for by coming in sixth in the work environment and second in the community and environment. Idaho excels in economic growth with an ever-increasing labor force that puts the average national numbers to shame. The happiness score of 59.31 out of 100 is made possible with a perfect blend of economic prosperity and community satisfaction.


Lincoln skyline and Nebraska State Capitol
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Mihai_Andritoiu

Nebraska, famous for its anchoring agricultural presence and vast corn fields, comes in strong with a total score of 58.92 out of 100. Ranking 7th in the work environment, Nebraska offers plenty of opportunities to those seeking to make the most of their careers. Work arrangements, job security, and economic security are all strong points in this state.

Nebraska ranked 12th in emotional and physical well-being and 4th in adequate sleep. On the downside, it ranked 25th in community and environment, even though it has one of the lowest divorce rates in the country. The reason for this could lie in a lack of leisure time per day and long winters with persistent periods of subzero temperatures.

Author: Zan Kokalj


Zan Kokalj is a veteran content writer, copywriter, and author inspired by the impact of ink on paper.

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