The Top 5 Happiest State in the US
According to a study done by Amerisleep, the happiest state in the US are:
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
The Top 5 Least Happy States Are:
- West Virginia
Measuring Happiness in US
This study measured 7 factors to estimate the happiest state in the US (in order of their importance):
- Work-Life Balance
These broad 7 categories were further subdivided into 17 different areas, such as:
- Population with depression
- Population with insufficient seep
- Number of health clubs
- Number of suicides
- Average working hours
- Income growth
- Divorce rate
- Volunteer rate
- Average commute time
- Average house size
- Percentage of trees covering the state
- Number of national parks
- Open spaces and beauty
- Number of higher education places
- Number of hospitals
Happiest State in the US: Full Ranking
Here is the full list of states and their respective ranking in the happiest states in the US are:
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- New Jersey
- New Hampshire
- North Carolina
- New York
- New Mexico
- West Virginia
Criticism to the Happiest States in the US Data
As someone who lives in Europe (London, United Kingdom) I need to admit that to this date I haven’t been to US. I know a lot about it predominately from books, movies, and news, which I know isn’t the best way to get an impression of a country.
Still, as someone interested in the topic of happiness, I was curious as to which are the happiest states in the US as a way of trying to learn a bit more about how to build the happiest society (a topic discussed in the next book I’m currently writing, so stay tuned!).
Yet, the biggest criticism I have towards the above study is who exactly wrote it. Amerisleep sells mattresses, pillows, bedding, and other related sleep items. What business do they have in writing about happiness? I mean, nowadays, everyone has something to say about happiness, most likely when it is related to their business. Still, where is the connection between happiness and mattresses?
We can especially see a problem with “who wrote this” issue when we look at things like “health,” which I imagine is broadly defined as both physical health and mental health (completely two different topics). Also, what does “number of health clubs” have to do with anything?
As such, the data used in to calculate the above ranking is good, but is it the best data possible? I imagine that if this research was done by someone who is an expert on the topic of happiness then they would choose a better different set of data points, making a ranking completely different map in the process.
In addition, what year pertains to the above study? Looking at their sources (see below), I estimate the year of the study to be 2019, which is a good time to state that I don’t imagine that Amerisleep will continue to measure happiness next year. This would be ideal to make an overtime comparison of happiness in different states.
Of course, it is easier to criticize someone’s work than to create something. This is why I still praise work done by Amerisleep as sometimes a road to success requires a learning curve. Furthermore, we can already try to understand if we agree with Amerisleep, such as if in fact North Dakota, Vermont, Nebraska, South Dakota, and California are the happiest states in the US, while Ohio, Nevada, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Kentucky are the least happy.
We could also look at different regions and cities within every state. Who is the happiest or unhappiest there?
We can try to understand whether other variables, like the political orientation of a state (conservative vs liberal), would play any role in the ranking. This is all important data, which could be used in future research.
To calculate the happiest state in the US raking Amerisleep used the following data sources:
Better Life Index – https://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org/responses/#US
Insufficient Sleep – https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/data_statistics.html and https://www.zippia.com/advice/most-exhausted-states/
Suicide Numbers – https://worldpopulationreview.com/state-rankings/suicide-rates-by-state
Unemployment Rate – https://www.bls.gov/web/laus/laumstrk.htm
Volunteer Rate – https://edition.cnn.com/2019/06/04/us/volunteering-statistics-united-states-america-cfc/index.html and https://americorps.gov/sites/default/files/document/Volunteering_in_America_States_508.pdf
Greenest State – https://www.mphonline.org/green-states/