America’s Happiest (and Most Miserable) States

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6. Colorado
> Residents who like what they do every day: 75.4% (16th highest)
> Residents w/ a strong social relationship: 75.4% (21st highest)
> Residents in near perfect physical health: 57.1% (12th highest)
> Poverty rate: 11.0% (12th lowest)
> Violent crime rate: 342.6 per 100,000 (23rd lowest)

Colorado residents report a higher sense of physical health than residents of any state other than Vermont. Only 20.8% of residents have had high blood pressure in their lifetime, and just 18.4% have had high cholesterol — the smallest and second smallest such shares of any state. The positive health outcomes are likely due in part to the large number of outdoor recreational opportunities throughout Colorado and the healthy behaviors of state residents. An estimated 91.3% of the state’s population has access to locations for physical activity such as gyms and parks, far more than the 84.0% national average. Some 62% of adults in Colorado get an appropriate amount of exercise each week, the second largest share among states.

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7. New Hampshire
> Residents who like what they do every day: 76.9% (7th highest)
> Residents w/ a strong social relationship: 75.1% (23rd highest)
> Residents in near perfect physical health: 54.5% (23rd highest)
> Poverty rate: 7.3% (the lowest)
> Violent crime rate: 197.6 per 100,000 (3rd lowest)

In a national survey assessing the five components of well-being — sense of purpose, social relationships, financial security, relationship to community, and physical health — New Hampshire residents reported a higher degree of social well-being than nearly any other state. An estimated 52.5% of residents always make time for trips with friends and family, and 77.0% receive positive energy from their friends and family on a daily basis, the second and fourth largest shares of any state.

One factor that may contribute to the strong sense of social well-being may be the large share of children living in two-parent households, a factor that has been shown to have a positive effects on social development in numerous studies. Just 11% of children in New Hampshire live in single-parent households, nearly half the 21% national share and the seventh smallest share nationwide.

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8. Idaho
> Residents who like what they do every day: 77.6% (6th highest)
> Residents w/ a strong social relationship: 75.1% (24th highest)
> Residents in near perfect physical health: 54.2% (22nd lowest)
> Poverty rate: 14.4% (19th highest)
> Violent crime rate: 230.3 per 100,000 (6th lowest)

An estimated 76.7% of Idaho residents are proud of their community or area they live in, the largest share of any state. Additionally, 74.6% of residents believe the area where they live is the perfect place for them, and 85.6% always feel safe and secure — each the second largest share nationwide. Idaho’s low violent crime rate may partially contribute to the strong sense of community pride and safety among state residents. There were just 230 violent crimes per 100,000 residents in 2016, far less than the national violent crime rate of 397 incidents per 100,000 Americans and the sixth lowest of any state. Idahoans also report a stronger sense of financial security, physical health, and purpose than a majority of states.

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9. Utah
> Residents who like what they do every day: 76.7% (9th highest)
> Residents w/ a strong social relationship: 77.0% (8th highest)
> Residents in near perfect physical health: 54.2% (24th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 10.2% (7th lowest)
> Violent crime rate: 242.8 per 100,000 (10th lowest)

There were just 243 violent crimes per 100,000 Utah residents in 2016, the 10th lowest violent crime rate of any state and far less than the national rate of 397 incidents per 100,000 Americans. In most states with low violent crime rates, residents report a stronger sense of safety and community pride. In Utah, 82.5% of survey respondents agree they always feel safe and secure, and 69.3% of respondents believe the area where they live is the perfect place for them — the ninth and eighth largest shares of any state. Additionally, 73.6% of respondents say they are proud of their community, the third largest share in the nation.

Residents also have a strong sense of financial security, with only 6.4% reporting dissatisfaction over their standard of living — the smallest share nationwide. Just 4.2% of households in Utah earn less than $10,000 a year, the third lowest such share of any state.

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10. Montana
> Residents who like what they do every day: 75.6% (13th highest)
> Residents w/ a strong social relationship: 77.2% (5th highest)
> Residents in near perfect physical health: 53.8% (20th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 13.3% (24th highest)
> Violent crime rate: 368.3 per 100,000 (25th lowest)

Montana residents report a stronger sense of community than a majority of states. Only 5.4% of survey respondents report that they do not always feel safe and secure, the second smallest share in the country. Additionally, 68.9% of residents are proud of the area where they live, more than the 65.1% national average.

Montana residents also report some of the best health outcomes and behaviors of any state. An estimated 62.1% of residents exercise for at least 30 minutes three days a week, far more than the 55.0% national average and the largest share in the country. Only 24.5% of adults have had high blood pressure, and just 21.5% have had high cholesterol, each some of the smallest shares nationwide.