How do you measure happiness? According to one adage, money cannot buy it. Perhaps it is tied to health or a good family life. A good job should be mixed in. So should the environment where people live.
NiceRx tried to measure the happiest and unhappiest states with its own methodology. Its metrics included poverty, mental illness, life expectancy, median household income, a safety score and homicide levels. Data on life expectancy and homicide rate in each state came from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Data on the mean household income and safety rating for each state were from World Population Review, and data on each state’s rates of mental illness and poverty came from Data USA. According to NiceRx, “These factors cover a range of different topics, from health and social affairs to economic matters. This provided us with a good overview of the different stresses and strains that people living in these states might experience.”
What did the research leave out? Certainly environmental factors like air and water pollution. Another measure left out was good schools and colleges. Yet another is the presence of parks and retail amenities. However, its yardsticks are as good as most others.
Once all factors were taken into account, each state was given a composite happiness score. The rating ran from 10 to zero, with the best state for happiness receiving the highest score.
At the top of the list was Hawaii, which had a score of 9.02. Its mean household income was high at $103,780, and the poverty rate was low at 9.44%. Connecticut ranked second with a score of 8.82. A number of the top states were in the northeast.
The lowest rated state was Mississippi at 2.06. It was followed by Louisiana, Arkansas and Alabama, as southern states dominated the bottom of the list.
These are the 10 unhappiest states in America:
- Mississippi (2.06)
- Louisiana (2.38)
- Arkansas (2.61)
- Alabama (3.17)
- West Virginia (3.19)
- Oklahoma (3.65)
- Tennessee (3.66)
- Kentucky (3.77)
- New Mexico (3.86)
- South Carolina (4.35)
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