These Are the Happiest States in America, According to One Study

published Nov 27, 2022
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Senior man and adult daughter talking on couch
Credit: MoMo Productions/Getty Images

There are so many factors that go into personal happiness, from meeting your emotional needs to feeling financially comfortable. But it’s undeniable that where you live can play a major role in your happiness, from being near family and community to living close to your dream job. But is it actually possible to determine the happiest states in the country? According to a new study, the answer is yes.

In order to find the happiest U.S. states, WalletHub examined all 50 states across 30 metrics, from adequate sleep rates to depression rates to income growth. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing maximum happiness.

Hawaii comes in first with a happiness score of 66.31 out of 100… which is still a D, but better than nothing. The Aloha State ranked first in WalletHub’s Emotional & Physical Well-Being category and has the lowest adult depression rates in the country.

Second place goes to Maryland, which received a score of 62.6 out of 100 and jumped far ahead of its 2021 eighth-place ranking. The state also placed in the top five of the Community & Environment and Emotional & Physical Well-Being categories.

Following closely behind is Minnesota, with a happiness score of 62.43 out of 100. Minnesotans are a well-rested bunch — the state boasts the second-highest adequate sleep rates, following Colorado.

These are the top 10 happiest states, according to WalletHub data:

  1. Hawaii
  2. Maryland
  3. Minnesota
  4. Utah
  5. New Jersey
  6. Idaho
  7. California
  8. Illinois
  9. Nebraska
  10. Connecticut

But you can’t make a list of the happiest states without also highlighting the unhappiest states, which WalletHub’s study certainly does. 

So here are the top 10 least happy states, according to WalletHub data:

  1. West Virginia
  2. Louisiana
  3. Arkansas
  4. Kentucky
  5. Alabama
  6. Mississippi
  7. Oklahoma
  8. Tennessee
  9. New Mexico
  10. Missouri

All 10 of these states scored particularly low in the study’s Emotional & Physical Well-Being, Community & Environment, and Work Environment categories, reinforcing the fact that where you live can play a major role in your happiness (or unhappiness).

You can check out WalletHub’s full study here.