America’s Happiest States

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5. Alaska
> Well-being index score: 69.0
> Life expectancy: 78.3 (23rd lowest)
> Obesity: 24.5% (13th lowest)
> Median household income: $64,576 (3rd highest)
> Adult population with high school diploma or higher: 91.0% (5th highest)

Alaska ranks high in all well-being categories except for basic access, which measures access to basic necessities. Alaska has one of the lowest scores in that category. Its overall well-being score, however, is high thanks to high scores in categories such as life evaluation, where the state ranks No.1. The state is relatively wealthy, with the country’s third-highest median household income and second-lowest poverty rate, although these are somewhat offset by the state’s particularly high cost of living. Alaskans also have low rates of heart disease and obesity, and the lowest rate of diabetes in the country.

4. Utah
> Well-being index score: 69.0
> Life expectancy: 80.1 (tied for 6th highest)
> Obesity: 22.5% (3rd lowest)
> Median household income: $54,744 (13th highest)
> Adult population with high school diploma or higher: 90.6% (7th highest)

Utah has high scores in well-being categories. Residents of the state indeed have plenty to be happy about. The state economy is doing well, and the state’s unemployment rate of 6% is the nation’s ninth-lowest. The state also has a fairly high median income and a low poverty rate. Utah is also very healthy with the sixth-highest life expectancy in the country. Only 9.1% of adults smoke — the country’s lowest rate — and 22.5% of adults are obese, which is the third-lowest rate. The state has the lowest rate of cancer, and the third-lowest rates of diabetes and heart disease. The state also has among the highest rates of adults with high school diplomas and the lowest rates of violent crime.

3. Minnesota
> Well-being index score: 69.2
> Life expectancy: 80.9 (2nd highest)
> Obesity: 24.8% (14th lowest)
> Median household income: $55,459 (12th highest)
> Adult population with high school diploma or higher: 91.8% (2nd highest)

Those living in Minnesota report being particularly happy in all well-being categories,  including top ten rankings in five of six areas. The state does especially well in the physical health category, where it ranks number one. Minnesota residents have the second best life expectancy in the country at nearly 81 years. The state has exceptionally low rates of obesity and tobacco use. It also has among the lowest rates of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes in the country. On top of this, Minnesota has the second-highest rate of high school-educated adults, the tenth-lowest poverty rate, and the ninth-lowest rate of violent crime.

2. North Dakota
> Well-being index score: 70.0
> Life expectancy: 80.1 (tied for 6th highest)
> Obesity: 27.2% (23rd highest)
> Median household income: $48,670 (23rd highest)
> Adult population with high school diploma or higher: 90.3% (10th highest)

North Dakota is another state that ranks highly in all well-being categories. However, residents feel particularly good about their work environment, where the state ranks No.1. Indeed, it is hard to deny the state is a good place to work, especially when North Dakota boasts an unemployment rate of 3.3% — the lowest in the country. The state is home to one of the country’s most widely educated adult populations. It also has a healthy population, as the sixth-highest life expectancy in the country suggests. It also has among the lowest rates of both cancer and diabetes.

1. Hawaii
> Well-being index score: 70.2
> Life expectancy: 81.5 (the highest)
> Obesity: 22.7% (5th lowest)
> Median household income: $63,030 (5th highest)
> Adult population with high school diploma or higher: 89.9% (13th highest)

Residents of Hawaii consider themselves the happiest people in the country. The state has among the highest ranks for five of six well-being categories, including first-place spots for emotional health and healthy behavior. Hawaii has the longest life expectancy in the country of 81.5 years. It has among the lowest rates for obesity, smoking, cancer, and heart disease. The state’s median income of $63,030 is the country’s fifth-highest, and its poverty rate of 10% is the sixth-lowest. The state also has a relatively high rate of adults with high school diplomas and a relatively low rate of violent crime.

Also Read: America’s Most Miserable States

Charles B. Stockdale

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