This Is the Happiest State in the U.S., According to One Study

published May 29, 2023
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Friends hugging on urban rooftop
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It’s understandable how where you live can impact your level of happiness, as access to welcoming outdoor space, affordable leisure activities, and equitable physical and mental health care is so vital to one’s overall well-being.

With this in mind, the pros at Scholaroo wanted to determine which U.S. states have the happiest residents, spearheading a holistic research effort that analyzed data from all 50 states across 54 relevant metrics. Turns out, the Northeast is home to plenty of happy folks, with every single state in the region making its way to the top 20 list.

Researchers organized the data into seven key indicators — personal finance, leisure activities, mental health, physical health, employment, personal relationships, and social policies — all of which are pretty important factors in determining the general happiness level of a particular community. Among the metrics used within each indicator: working hours and commute times (employment), movie theater and hobby store visits (leisure activities), depression and suicide rate (mental health), home ownership and average income (personal finance), divorce rate and pet ownership (personal relationships), drug usage and insufficient sleep (physical health), and LGBTQ+ rights/youth protections and workplace pregnancy protections (social policies).

Overall, Massachusetts takes top honors, scoring particularly high among personal finance and leisure activities. On the other hand, nearly all Southern states have the lowest levels of happiness, ranking highest in metrics such as depression rate, the highest number of hours worked per week, and the highest number of health concerns in the country.

Check out the top 20 list ranked from best to worst, as well as the full report from Scholaroo for more info.

  1. Massachusetts
  2. Illinois
  3. Connecticut
  4. New Jersey
  5. New York
  6. Maryland
  7. Minnesota
  8. California
  9. Hawaii
  10. Vermont
  11. Rhode Island
  12. New Hampshire
  13. Colorado
  14. Maine
  15. Washington
  16. Delaware
  17. Virginia
  18. Oregon
  19. Nebraska
  20. Pennsylvania