TR Robertson – According to Disneyland, it is the “Happiest Place on Earth”, but according to the annual WalletHub study, there is another location for the “Happiest Place”. The WalletHub study was reported in Travel & Leisure Magazine in an article entitled “Happiest States in America”. The study looked at a number of comparative factors from all 50 states. It took in environmental factors, a person’s overall well-being and satisfaction with life. Thirty metrics were measured and compared for all 50 states. Some of the metrics looked at were depression rates, productivity, income growth, unemployment rates, sports participation rates, work environments, sleep rates, suicide rates and more. Other studies that were completed found that good economic, emotional, physical and social health all determine a well-balanced and fulfilled life for individuals.
When all of the data was collected, analyzed and compared it was determined that for this year, Utah is the happiest state. Several factors stood out, such as the highest volunteer rate and lowest separation and divorce rate in the U.S. New Mexico had the highest separation and divorce rate. The next Happiest State was Hawaii followed by Maryland, Minnesota and New Jersey to round out the top five. All five of these states also stood out with high emotional and well-being, community involvement and environmental work. California ranked 7th in the study. The bottom three states in the “Happiest States” study were Tennessee at 48th, Louisiana at 49th and West Virginia at 50th.
Looking at some of the factors that stood out, Colorado ranked highest in sleep rate and sports participation and New Jersey ranked lowest in suicide rate, Wyoming ranked highest. For unemployment rate North and South Dakota ranked lowest, Nevada ranked highest. One factor that stood out was high inflation remained a concern for all of the states and many felt this was a threat to mental health. Another interesting factor was only 50% of those taking part in the survey felt satisfied with the way their personal life is going.
Happiness is a vey relative thing. It can mean so many different things to everyone. Even in the states that ranked low in the overall study, there are happiness factors in those states, not in the particular survey questions the study contained. There is no doubt that these are trying times and there are many concerns surfacing in everyone’s daily life. Politics is always in the news and as a new election year draws closer, the rhetoric will increase, and people’s anxiety level will increase. None of this leads to a feeling of being happy.
I suppose the best we can all do as we enter another holiday season is to try and find those things that make us happy, those things that reduce our stress level and those things that lead us to a “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” attitude. If you are interested in seeing the entire “Happiest States” study, go to www.wallethub.com.