A recent study ranks the 50 states and the District of Columbia from happiest to most unhappy using a variety of information, and the results may be surprising to some.
The rankings, which were determined by WalletHub, were tallied using various studies that ultimately helped them to compile categories that include emotional and physical well-being, work, and involvement in community, environment, and recreational activities. Once the states' ranks in the three categories were determined, their overall happiness ranking was able to be deduced using a number of statistics from past studies.
Utah took the top spot for overall happiness, while Minnesota, North Dakota and Colorado all trailed close behind. The unhappiest state in the country, however, was awarded to West Virginia, although it didn’t rank the lowest in all three of the separate categories. It ranked low enough in those, however, to end up at the bottom of the list.
Alabama was second to last, coming in at number 50 among all the states and D.C., and the city of Montgomery’s health czar Michael Briddell says that the ranking shows there is a lot for the state to improve upon.
“We definitely have room to grow and get healthier and happier,” said Briddell, who is also on the River Region Obesity Task Force, to the Montgomery Advertiser. “We’re spreading awareness about issues. We’ve got public health and medical entities out there that are addressing the problem and doing a very good job at it. There’s certainly a political component involved, in which we probably could do better. But with the hand these health advocates have been dealt — they’re doing a pretty good job at it.”
Michael Hout, a sociology professor at New York University, says there are many ways to make people happier.
“Commuting and attending meetings where you do not control the agenda are the biggest drags,” said Hout. “So, [paying] more to live close to work, or [finding] a job close to home would be other things people can do to make themselves happier.”
Take a look at the full list here to find out where your state ranks.