America’s Happiest (and Most Miserable) States

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31. Georgia
> Residents who like what they do every day: 73.6% (15th lowest)
> Residents w/ a strong social relationship: 74.8% (25th lowest)
> Residents in near perfect physical health: 54.4% (24th highest)
> Poverty rate: 16.0% (10th highest)
> Violent crime rate: 397.6 per 100,000 (21st highest)

Remaining healthy can be critical to overall well-being. A relatively large share of Georgia residents do not take especially good care of themselves. Just 59.7% of respondents eat healthy all day compared to 62.9% of respondents across all state. Additionally, 18.8% of adults smoke, 1 percentage point higher than the U.S. smoking rate. Likely partially as a result, adults in Georgia are more likely to be overweight or obese than American adults on average and less likely to assess their own health as near perfect.

Personal finances also undermine the overall well-being of a relatively large share of Georgia residents. Of those surveyed, 17.5% report struggling to afford food, compared to 15.7% of respondents nationwide.

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32. Michigan
> Residents who like what they do every day: 73.1% (9th lowest)
> Residents w/ a strong social relationship: 74.7% (22nd lowest)
> Residents in near perfect physical health: 52.8% (16th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 15.0% (15th highest)
> Violent crime rate: 459.0 per 100,000 (13th highest)

In well-being measures such as having a sense of purpose, supportive social connections, community pride, and sufficient finances the typical adult in Michigan closely resembles the profile of the typical adult nationwide. However, when it comes to physical health, state adult residents are more likely than the typical American adult to report lower well-being. About 1 in 5 survey respondents smoke compared to 17.8% of adults nationwide. Adults in Michigan are also less likely to exercise regularly and more likely to be obese than the typical American adult.

Such unhealthy behaviors appear to be taking a toll. Adults in Michigan are more likely than the typical American adult to report suffering from physical pain. The share of adults in the state who have had cancer, high blood pressure, or depression are all higher than the comparable U.S. shares.

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33. Kansas
> Residents who like what they do every day: 74.9% (22nd highest)
> Residents w/ a strong social relationship: 74.4% (17th lowest)
> Residents in near perfect physical health: 54.2% (25th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 12.1% (20th lowest)
> Violent crime rate: 380.4 per 100,000 (22nd highest)

The typical Kansas household earns $54,935 a year, nearly $3,000 less than the national median of $57,617. Adjusted for the cost of living, however — goods and services cost on average 9.6% less in Kansas than they do nationwide — incomes in Kansas are higher than in a majority of states. When surveyed about their financial security, only 32.1% of adults in Kansas said they do not have enough money to do everything they want to do, one of the smallest shares of any state.

While Kansas residents report a relatively high degree of financial security, they have a weaker sense of social well-being than nearly any other state. Only 69.7% of adults believe they have someone in their lives who encourages them to be healthy, the sixth smallest share in the country. Kansas residents may be missing the opportunity for social connection in daily aspect — their daily commute. An estimated 82.2% of commuters in the state drive to work alone, far more than the 76.6% national average.

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34. Pennsylvania
> Residents who like what they do every day: 74.8% (24th highest)
> Residents w/ a strong social relationship: 75.4% (20th highest)
> Residents in near perfect physical health: 54.6% (22nd highest)
> Poverty rate: 12.9% (23rd lowest)
> Violent crime rate: 316.4 per 100,000 (22nd lowest)

Maintaining good physical health can be critical to overall well-being, and a relatively large share of adults in Pennsylvania do not take especially good care of themselves. For example, just 52.7% of adults in the Keystone State exercise for at least a half hour three or more days per week, nearly the smallest share of any state. Additionally, 19.2% smoke compared to just 17.8% of adults nationwide.

Pennsylvania residents are also less likely than most to have good relationship with their community. Some 62.6% of survey respondents agreed that their city is the perfect place for them, slightly lower than national share. Additionally, just 18.4% of survey respondents in Pennsylvania have received recognition for helping to the city or area where they live in the last year, the sixth smallest share of any state.

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35. Oregon
> Residents who like what they do every day: 73.4% (12th lowest)
> Residents w/ a strong social relationship: 74.6% (21st lowest)
> Residents in near perfect physical health: 51.6% (10th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 13.3% (24th highest)
> Violent crime rate: 264.6 per 100,000 (14th lowest)

A sense of purpose is one important factor of overall well-being. In Oregon, residents report a weaker sense of purpose than any state other than Rhode Island. Only 65% of adults believe they get to use their natural strengths on a daily basis, and just 54% agree that they know someone in a leadership role who makes them enthusiastic about their future, the fourth and fifth smallest shares, respectively, of any state.

Oregon residents also report higher levels of financial insecurity than a majority of states. While the typical household in the state earns $57,532 a year — roughly equivalent to the national median — about 36% of adults regularly worry about money, the third largest share in the country. Additionally, just 71% of adults are satisfied with their standard of living, the fifth smallest share.