These Are the Happiest States in the U.S., Study Finds

No surprise, the state with the highest Happiness Score is warm and beachy.

We talk a lot about choosing the best places to live in terms of practical factors like property values, cost of living, taxes, and quality of life for retirees. But some exceptional locales stand out for their populations’ higher levels of life satisfaction, well-being, and happiness—all of which are certainly influenced by a winning combination of the aforementioned factors. 

It turns out that the beautiful state of Hawaii is one of those exceptional places—well, really, the most exceptional—according to data pulled by NiceRx, a company helping patients access affordable prescription medications. To determine which states are the happiest in America (and why), NiceRx compared all 50 states, calculating an overall happiness score by measuring each state against several “happiness factors,” such as prevalence of mental illness, crime, poverty, average life expectancy, and more. 


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As if Hawaii’s picturesque terrain, tropical climate, and gracious residents weren’t enough to inspire you to pack your bags, this island state also earned the highest happiness score of all, a 9.08 out of 10, per the study’s formula, namely boasting the lowest rates of serious mental health conditions (3.18 percent) and the longest life expectancy (80.7 years) compared to the rest of the country. Second on the happiness ladder is Connecticut—a total 180 from Hawaii in terms of climate, culture, and coast. But according to the methodology, the Nutmeg State came out with a happiness score of 8.5 out of 10, due its high mean household income and great safety scores. The bronze medal goes to another New England state, Massachusetts, which earned an 8.34 out of 10 on the happiness scale with the highest mean household income ($115,964), low poverty rates (9.85 percent), long life expectancy (79 years), and solid safety score.

These 10 states received the highest Happiness Scores:

  1. Hawaii
  2. Connecticut
  3. Massachusetts
  4. New Jersey
  5. Minnesota
  6. New Hampshire
  7. Washington
  8. Utah
  9. California
  10. Maryland

These 10 states received the lowest Happiness Scores:

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

This doesn't mean every Hawaiian is cheerful all the time—or that every single Arkansan is miserable. But it's fascinating to see which states in the U.S. hold the most potential for contentment based on some of the most significant factors that can influence our sense of well-being and fulfillment.

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