It’s true that money can’t buy happiness. However, where you live can have a big impact on your emotional well-being. In this article, we’ll look at the happiest states in the country to see where the smiles are.
Researchers at Magnify Money, a personal finance site wanted to know where the happiest states in the country are. It turns out the answers might be more than a little surprising. The Magnify Money study measured 20 “wellness factors” to reach their results.
These factors, derived from a recent Oxford University study, were based on health, lifestyle, and prosperity markers, allowing the researchers to assign each state a “wellness” score out of 100.
Using this method, they were able to rank all 50 states in terms of their relative “happiness score,” if you will. You’ll never guess which state came out ahead….
What’s The Happiest State?
With a score of 73.5, Minnesota ranked first on the list of happiest states in the country. Rounding out the top 5 were South Dakota, Utah, Colorado, and North Dakota. Hey, just what’s going on with the Dakotas?
As far as the least happiest states go, Louisiana was ranked lowest with a score of 29.8. The bottom five includes: Rhode Island, West Virginia, Alabama, and Mississippi.
Check Out the Complete Listing of Happiest States in the Country Below (Click to Enlarge)
Other States On The List
Many of the states containing America’s largest cities didn’t do so well. New York, California, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Illinois were all outside the top 20. California ranked highest of these states at 21.
The methodology of the study spanned three key areas: health, lifestyle, and economic stability. Within each area were a multitude of factors such as rates of suicide and depression, divorce rates, median household income, and more.
Some states fared well in one or two of the three main categories while failing in the third. For example, Utah scored exceptionally well in lifestyle and economic stability but fell outside the top 20 in health rating. However, their 1st place ranking in the previous two was enough to life them to 4th overall.
To further examine the impact these rankings have, let’s select two states which were close to each other in ranking. Texas (20th) and Illinois (24th). Texas’ overall score was 53.9. Illinois: 52.0.
Both states had a similar overall score. However, the distribution was different. Texas ranked high for health (11th) and middle of the road in lifestyle and economic stability. Illinois on the other hand ranked a little worse than Texas in each category but most noticeably in lifestyle (34 compared to 27 for Texas).
Of course, these numbers only tell one part of the story. Let’s take a closer look at two of the larger cities in these states. Austin and Chicago and compare cost of living expenses using City vs City.
While neither city is exactly “cheap” to live in, Austin comes out slightly ahead of Chicago in terms of cost of living expenses. It just goes to show you that happiness isn’t everything, but when it comes to cost of living: Austin may just be the happier place.
Let’s take another look at two other places on the list of happiest states in the country. These two states are not as close on the list. Massachusetts and New York. Numbers 27 and 39 on the list with a total score of 49 to 39.7.
Massachusetts scored well in lifestyle (21st) but poorly in health and economic stability. New York on the other hand, fared poorly in all categories and was second only to Louisiana in economic stability.
Massachusetts didn’t score great for economic stability either (35) but it’s good showing in lifestyle ranking lifted it into the top 30.
So, where would you rather life: Boston or New York?
Living in Boston isn’t exactly cheap, but compared to New York it’s a bargain. Boston outperforms NYC in every category and required 47% LESS INCOME to maintain the same standard of living.
For more city comparisons, visit our YouTube Channel.
More About City vs City
City vs City is a one of a kind cost of living calculator which uses local data curated at the zip code level to determine cost of living. The app examines living expenses, taxes, transportation costs, and more.
With City vs City, you are able to compare your current cost of living with another city to see which one comes out ahead. In the example video above, we compared Austin and Chicago. The result was that Austin can offer you a better cost of living situation.
If you’re looking to move, don’t do it without City vs City by your side. Available for download here.