What does it mean to be happy living in the United States during a pandemic and economic recession? Depending upon which state you live in, your happiness and mental well-being can vary drastically.
A new survey from Wallethub ranked the 50 states by "happiness," to see which states are staying happy during these trying times.
Hawaii is the happiest state overall for 2020, according to the survey.
Hawaii is consistently ranked the happiest state in the U.S. In 2019, Gallup named Hawaii the top state in its National Health and Well-Being Index for the seventh year in a row.
For the new survey, Wallethub used metrics to give each state an overall happiness "score" out of 100 points. These included emotional and physical well-being, work environment and community environment. WalletHub pulled data for the survey from a variety of sources, including the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Gallup.
With a total score of 69.58 and top marks in emotional and physical well-being, as well as the community and environment category, it's no surprise that the "Aloha State" came in first place for happiness.
But there's more to happiness than beaches and sunshine. In this new survey, Hawaii had the second-lowest share of adult depression after New Jersey, and the fifth highest income growth.
Of course, Covid-19's effect was taken into consideration in each category. For example, coronavirus restrictions and positive Covid-19 testing rates, factored into the emotional and physical wellbeing section.
Interestingly, New Jersey came in first place for the emotional and physical wellbeing. There have been 201,552 cases of Covid-19 in New Jersey, and 14,300 deaths as of Friday.
Hawaii has had relatively fewer cases of Covid-19 compared to other states, with 11,848 reported cases and 124 deaths as of Friday. And in the past week the state has seen a 45% decrease in daily cases from the two weeks prior, according to the New York Times.
Utah came in second place after Hawaii, with the No. 1 rank in work and community environment. Work environment includes things like job security, unemployment rate and even the number of hours worked a week on average. The community environment takes into account things like weather, leisure time, divorce rate and safety rates.
Minnesota, New Jersey, Maryland and California took the next-best places in overall happiness.
The least-happy state this year is West Virginia, with an overall score of 30.58 and low rankings in the emotional and physical wellbeing category, as well as work environment. Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Kentucky were also in the bottom five.
In psychology, happiness is defined as emotional well-being, and how satisfied you are with the way your life is going.
Here are the happiest and least happy states for 2020.
Top 10 happiest states:
- New Jersey
- North Dakota
10 least happy states:
- West Virginia
1 = last place
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