Happy people in California. Editorial credit: Hayk_Shalunts / Shutterstock.com

The 10 Happiest States Of America

A wide variety of factors can influence the feeling of happiness, including the quality of one's personal and family life, employment status, cost of living, hobbies, weather, and so much more. Though each individual will have their own parameters of what constitutes happiness, common factors in studies of people's happiness have included economic, social, and physical well-being. The following is a look at the 10 Happiest American States based on overall happiness score:

1. Hawaii - 66.31

The spectacular landscapes of Hawaii make it one of the best and happiest places to live.

The Pacific island State of Hawaii ranks as the happiest in the United States with an overall score of 66.31 across 30 key metrics as assessed by WalletHub. With its world-famous warm climate, splendid beaches, stunning vistas, and a generally laid-back lifestyle, Hawaii has many reasons that lead to people's happiness. The "Aloha State" has the nation's lowest rate of depression, low rates of divorce, and a high rate of people involved in sports. Whether it is swimming, surfing, hiking, cycling, or rock climbing, Hawaii certainly has several great athletic opportunities, each of which contributes to the State's overall happiness rating. 

2. Maryland - 62.60

People spending quality family time at Ocean City Boardwalk in Ocean City, Maryland. Editorial credit: Lissandra Melo / Shutterstock.com

Maryland comes in second with an overall happiness rating of 62.60 according to WalletHub's data. Including the fifth lowest suicide rate in the country, the eighth lowest rate of depression, and rounding out the top ten of the safest States, Maryland also scores highly for positive emotional and physical well-being. Known for such famous cities as Baltimore, Annapolis, and Silver Spring, the "Old Line State" is a definite place of contentment and discovery, ready to welcome all visitors. 

3. Minnesota - 62.43 

Grandma's Marathon is an Annual Marathon held in Duluth, Minnesota t
Grandma's Marathon is an Annual Marathon held in Duluth, Minnesota. Editorial credit: Jacob Boomsma / Shutterstock.com

Minnesota scores 62.43 on the national happiness scale, ranking second as the State with the most adequate sleep rate. In addition, the "Land of 10,000 Lakes" lands in fifth place for the highest rate of volunteer service and in a commendable fourth place in the category of safest States. Indeed with splendid natural beauty and famed "Minnesota Nice" atmosphere, Minnesota is a great place to visit, live in, and discover for a  happy experience.

4. Utah - 62.41

 Family looking up at the amazing rock formations at Zion National Park in Utah.
Family looking up at the amazing rock formations at Zion National Park in Utah.

The culturally and historically rich Utah ranks fourth on WalletHub's list and scores 62.41 on the happiness scale. Boasting America's lowest rate of divorce (15%), the highest rate of volunteer service, fewest mandatory work hours, and the highest sports participation level, the "Beehive State" is undoubtedly a place where much personal happiness can be found. In addition, Utah is ranked as the fifth safest in the country, making it an ideal place for individuals and families alike.  

5. New Jersey - 61.71

new jersey beach
A crowded and colorful beach in Ocean City, New Jersey. Editorial credit: Gary C. Tognoni / Shutterstock.com

The "Garden State" scores 61.71 to become the fifth happiest state. With the country's fifth lowest rate of depression, the lowest rate of suicide, and the third lowest rate of marital divorce, New Jersey is by far one of the Eastern United States' most content places. In addition to its rich cultural and historical heritage, New Jersey boasts some of the most beautiful natural settings and coastlines of the Atlantic Ocean.

6. Idaho - 61.60

Alpine skiing on Mount Baldy above the town of Sun Valley, Idaho
Alpine skiing on Mount Baldy above the town of Sun Valley, Idaho.

Ranking third in best work environment and second in community and environment categories, Idaho becomes the sixth happiest US state with an overall score of 61.6. However, something quite concerning and contrasting in this happy state is the high suicide rate, the fifth highest in the country. Hopefully, the great outdoors, scenic nature, peaceful work environment, and low unemployment rate offered by this state will help drive out any remaining negativity to allow the state to be even happier in the coming years.

7. California - 59.97

People enjoying outdoor activities and view of Painted Ladies houses in Alamo Square
People enjoying outdoor activities and view of Painted Ladies houses in Alamo Square, San Francisco, California. Editorial credit: jack-sooksan / Shutterstock.com

While wealth is not always a measure of happiness, it definitely contributes to the Golden State's score of 59.97. California has the highest income growth in the country and the second-lowest adult depression rate. But it is not just the monetary riches that define life here. The state is full of natural wonders whose splendor would make any sad soul happy. The easy access to plenty of outdoor activities also ensures the residents' good health and well-being. 

8. Illinois - 58.59

A loving senior couple visiting Millennium Park in downtown Chicago. Editorial credit: Page Light Studios / Shutterstock.com

Illinois' ranking among the ten happiest states is a sweet surprise for its residents. The Prairie State ranks three for physical and mental well-being and also has the third-lowest adult depression rate. With vast outdoors, plenty of fresh air, fun amusement parks, and other recreational facilities, Illinois ensures boredom never creeps into the life of its residents.

9. Nebraska - 58.19

Residents of Omaha, Nebraska, enjoying a recreational speed boat race. Editorial credit: Aspects and Angles / Shutterstock.com

Nebraska's score of 58.19 makes it the ninth happiest state in the US. With the country's second-lowest long-term unemployment rate, Nebraska ensures economic stability to its residents, which definitely contributes to the people getting adequate sleep, a metric for which the state ranks fourth in the country. Divorce rates are also low here, while the kindness of the Nebraskans is visible in the state having the third-highest volunteer rate.

10. Connecticut - 58.15

New Orleans rock band The Revivalists perform at the 2022 Sound on Sound Music Festival at Bridgeport, Connecticut. Editorial credit: Adam McCullough / Shutterstock.com

Rounding off the list of the ten happiest states in America is the Constitution State, with a score of 58.15. The state ranks 7 for the emotional and physical well-being criteria by catering to the needs of every kind of person with its wide array of outdoor recreational venues and charming small towns with peaceful atmospheres. 

From low rates of depression, divorce, and unemployment, to physical, social, and cultural well-being, the reasons for an individual's happiness can vary greatly. While there is no uniform formula for determining what makes one happy, the ten happiest American States all share the commonalities of stable relationships, safe communities, and reasonable work and life balance. If you want to brighten your mood or settle for long-term happiness, then perhaps consider visiting or living in these ten happiest States of America.

US States By Happiness Score

Overall Rank State Total Score 
1 Hawaii 66.31
2 Maryland 62.60
3 Minnesota 62.43
4 Utah 62.41
5 New Jersey 61.71
6 Idaho 61.60
7 California 59.97
8 Illinois 58.59
9 Nebraska 58.19
10 Connecticut 58.15
11 Virginia 57.84
12 South Dakota 57.60
13 North Dakota 57.37
14 Massachusetts 57.12
15 New Hampshire 56.46
16 Iowa 55.57
17 Delaware 55.16
18 Florida 55.08
19 Georgia 54.78
20 North Carolina 53.65
21 Wisconsin 53.61
22 Washington 53.53
23 New York 53.36
24 Maine 52.67
25 Wyoming 52.40
26 Oregon 52.11
27 Pennsylvania 51.87
28 Rhode Island 51.55
29 Montana 51.34
30 Colorado 50.70
31 Arizona 50.22
32 Kansas 49.90
33 South Carolina 49.62
34 Vermont 48.46
35 Nevada 48.16
36 Texas 47.74
37 Indiana 47.41
38 Ohio 46.81
39 Michigan 46.51
40 Alaska 46.27
41 Missouri 45.38
42 New Mexico 43.64
43 Tennessee 43.35
44 Oklahoma 40.69
45 Mississippi 39.58
46 Alabama 39.32
47 Kentucky 38.36
48 Arkansas 38.23
49 Louisiana 34.81
50 West Virginia 33.83

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