America’s Happiest (and Most Miserable) States

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11. Massachusetts
> Residents who like what they do every day: 74.1% (20th lowest)
> Residents w/ a strong social relationship: 74.8% (25th highest)
> Residents in near perfect physical health: 59.4% (3rd highest)
> Poverty rate: 10.4% (9th lowest)
> Violent crime rate: 376.9 per 100,000 (23rd highest)

The typical Massachusetts household earns $75,297 a year, nearly the highest state median. Partly as a result, state residents are more likely than most Americans to be satisfied with their personal finances. Some 48% of survey respondents in the state say have enough money to do everything they want compared to only 42% of Americans nationwide.

A large segment of the Massachusetts population also benefits from strong communities. A low property crime rate is one of the hallmarks of a region where residents report relatively high well-being, and in Massachusetts there are just 1,561 property crimes per 100,000 residents, compared to the U.S. rate of 2,451 per 100,000. Indeed, 82.1% of adults in the state feel safe, a greater share than in the vast majority of states.

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12. Florida
> Residents who like what they do every day: 75.3% (18th highest)
> Residents w/ a strong social relationship: 75.5% (18th highest)
> Residents in near perfect physical health: 57.7% (9th highest)
> Poverty rate: 14.7% (16th highest)
> Violent crime rate: 430.3 per 100,000 (18th highest)

When asked about their social relationships, 50.7% of Florida residents agreed that they always make time for trips with their friends and family, the seventh largest share of any state. Florida residents also report a strong sense of purpose. An estimated 66.8% of adults learn or do something interesting every day, and 55.2% believe they have reached most of their goals in the last year — each some of the largest shares of any state.

While factors such as low unemployment and high educational attainment can promote a strong sense of purpose across a population, Florida is fairly unremarkable in both of these categories. The state’s unemployment rate of 4.9% is in line with the national figure. Additionally, 28.6% of adults have a bachelor’s degree, less than the 31.3% national college attainment rate.

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13. Texas
> Residents who like what they do every day: 76.9% (8th highest)
> Residents w/ a strong social relationship: 75.7% (16th highest)
> Residents in near perfect physical health: 57.1% (11th highest)
> Poverty rate: 15.6% (12th highest)
> Violent crime rate: 434.4 per 100,000 (17th highest)

Texas residents report a stronger sense of purpose than any state other than South Dakota. Approximately 77% of residents like what they do every day, and 70% believe they get to use their strengths on a daily basis, each some of the largest shares of any state. While residents in states with high educational attainment and low unemployment tend to report the strongest sense of purpose, Texas is relatively lacking in both of these categories. Just 82.9% of state adults have a high school diploma, the second smallest share in the country. Additionally, 4.6% of workers are unemployed, nearly in line with the 4.9% national unemployment rate.

Texas residents also report a stronger sense of social well-being, community, and physical health than a majority of states.

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14. California
> Residents who like what they do every day: 75.5% (14th highest)
> Residents w/ a strong social relationship: 73.9% (11th lowest)
> Residents in near perfect physical health: 57.9% (8th highest)
> Poverty rate: 14.3% (20th highest)
> Violent crime rate: 445.3 per 100,000 (15th highest)

California residents report a higher degree of physical well-being than residents of any state other than Colorado and Vermont. High health status among adults is partially attributable to some good habits and the scarcity of some bad ones. For example, only 13.8% of adults in the state smoke, the third smallest share among states.

Additionally, 93.5% of the state population has access to locations for physical activity such as gyms and parks, the fourth largest share nationwide. Such access likely works to boost physical activity rates. Some 59% of adults in the state exercise regularly throughout the week, a larger share than in all but eight other states.

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15. Arizona
> Residents who like what they do every day: 78.5% (3rd highest)
> Residents w/ a strong social relationship: 76.7% (10th highest)
> Residents in near perfect physical health: 54.8% (19th highest)
> Poverty rate: 16.4% (8th highest)
> Violent crime rate: 470.1 per 100,000 (12th highest)

In a national survey assessing the five components of well-being, Arizona residents reported a stronger sense of purpose than nearly any other state. An estimated 68.7% of adults in the state learn or do something interesting every day, and 78.5% like what they do every day — the largest and third largest share of any state. While the opportunity to find a job that matches an individual’s strengths and abilities can lead to a stronger sense of purpose, Arizona has one of the worst job markets in the country. The state’s unemployment rate of 5.3% is far higher than the 4.9% national figure.

Arizona residents also report stronger social relationships than most states. An estimated 75.3% of adults have someone in their lives who encourages them to be healthy, the sixth largest share in the country.