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:
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:
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.
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do