America: Happiest and Saddest States

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Data from over 178,000 Americans in 2013 reveals the happiest and saddest states in the US.

North Dakota is the happiest state in the US while West Virginia is down at the bottom of the list.

The data comes from interviews with 178,000 Americans across all 50 states conducted by Gallup and Healthways in 2013.

In the following image, darker green means happier people:

us_states_wellbeing

The scores are averages made up of five different factors, three of which have a more psychological aspect:

  • Purpose: Liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals
  • Social: Having supportive relationships and love in your life
  • Community: Liking where you live, feeling safe and having pride in your community

The other two relate to physical and financial matters:

  • Financial: Managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security
  • Physical: Having good health and enough energy to get things done daily

Here are the average scores across all five factors for the top 10 states:

j83lp8avwkkstdis-tvvqqAnd here are the bottom 10 states:

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The Midwestern and Western states did best, with 9 of the 10 highest scoring states being in these areas.

Overall the Gallup survey found that national happiness across the US has been at around the same level since the index began in 2008.

Image credits: Antoine Robiez & Gallup

About the author


Dr Jeremy Dean is a psychologist and the author of PsyBlog. His latest book is "Making Habits, Breaking Habits: How to Make Changes That Stick". You can follow PsyBlog by email, by RSS feed, on Twitter and Google+.

Published: 25 February 2014

Text: © All rights reserved.

Images: Creative Commons License