Happiness comes in many forms, but where is it easiest to find? We analyzed the data to discover America’s happiest state.
The Happiest State in the US
Is the happiest state in America
The Peace Garden state topped the ranking after the study found it performed well in 17 factors that contribute towards happiness, such as health, income, work-life balance and environment.
Top three states
North Dakota ranked the happiest out of all 50 states after performing well in a number of different factors, including the highest level of income growth over the past year, the second-best score for open spaces and beauty, and the highest number of national parks per square ft.
In second position is Vermont, performing particularly well in factors related to health. Health factors have the highest weight in the analysis as the OECD’s Better Life Index has found that Americans rate it as the most important contributor to their happiness.
Nebraska places as the third happiest state, and scores the highest in the index for the best work-life balance, which is measured on factors such as commute time, number of health clubs and average working hours.
Happiest state Rankings
Discover where each state ranked for happiness
|Overall Ranking||State||Health Ranking||Education Ranking||Work-Life Balance||Environment Ranking||Safety Ranking||Housing ranking||Income Ranking|
Health ranks as US citizens’ most important contributor towards happiness, according to the OECD Better Life Index, and the study included four separate factors within the category – depression rate, sleep, suicide numbers and number of hospitals per capita. North Dakota ranks the highest while West Virginia ranks the lowest of all 50 states.
Education is the second most important element for happiness, and Vermont comes out on top with the most higher education places per capita. In second place is North Dakota and coming in third is Montana.
Work-Life Balance is also highly valued by Americans, with the study revealing Nebraska as the best place to achieve it. This category factored in health clubs per capita, working hours, volunteer rate, unemployment rate, commute time and divorce rates, with Utah placing second and Montana third. Conversely, Nevada places 50th on the list for achieving a good balance between career and home life.
Environment is fourth on the list of things that make people happy in America, and California takes the top spot in the category, which assesses the percentage of trees covering state, open spaces and beauty and national parks. Rhode Island comes in second and Oregon third while New York ranks in last place.
Safety is ranked as the fifth most important consideration for happiness in the US. The state that has the highest safety score is Alaska followed by Mississippi, while North Carolina comes in as the least safe.
Housing is the sixth most important contributor to happiness, and sees Hawaii at the bottom of the pile, with the smallest average housing size (sq. ft) out of all the states, while Utah ranks first for housing size.
Income is the seventh and final happiness factor on the list, and North Dakota comes in first again, thanks to its income growth percentage over the last year. New Hampshire has had the lowest income growth out of all US states.
- Population with depression
- Population with insufficient seep
- Number of health clubs
- Number of suicides
- Average working hours
- Income growth
- Divorce rate
- Volunteer rate
- Average commute time
- Average house size
- Percentage of trees covering the state
- Number of national parks
- Open spaces and beauty
- Number of higher education places
- Number of hospitals.
Data was found on each of the factors for all 50 states in the US. Each of the factors were then ranked using a 10-point scale, with 10 being the best.
The rankings were then weighted by importance to a US resident based on the OECD Better Life Index’s survey of what US citizens value in terms of making them happy.
Order of importance of each factor:
- Work-Life Balance
The Index scores were taken and the state with the highest score was ranked the happiest in the US.
Better Life Index – https://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org/responses/#USA
Depression Rate – https://worldpopulationreview.com/state-rankings/depression-rates-by-state
Insufficient Sleep – https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/data_statistics.html and https://www.zippia.com/advice/most-exhausted-states/
Suicide Numbers – https://worldpopulationreview.com/state-rankings/suicide-rates-by-state
Work Hours – https://www.business.org/hr/workforce-management/most-overworked-states/
Divorce Rate – https://worldpopulationreview.com/state-rankings/divorce-rate-by-state
Unemployment Rate – https://www.bls.gov/web/laus/laumstrk.htm
Income Growth – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_states_and_territories_of_the_United_States_by_GDP
Volunteer Rate – https://edition.cnn.com/2019/06/04/us/volunteering-statistics-united-states-america-cfc/index.html and https://americorps.gov/sites/default/files/document/Volunteering_in_America_States_508.pdf
Safest State – https://worldpopulationreview.com/state-rankings/safest-states
Greenest State – https://www.mphonline.org/green-states/