A recent long-term on happiness highlighted that life satisfaction, one of the two primary components of happiness together with emotional well-being, does increase as income rises, but only up to an annual income of around $75,000. Surprisingly, the study found that income above $75,000 does not significantly impact an individual’s overall happiness.
The results of a recent Gallup-Healthways poll designed to measure well-being around the world generally confirmed these findings. The poll data showed “there was a 10-percentage-point gap globally between the highest and lowest income brackets.”
Of course, income is not the only factor in personal happiness. Apart from financial security, a sense of happiness depends on mental and physical health, job circumstances, physical environment, social connections and outlook on life.
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WalletHub decided to take all of these factors into consideration and create a list ranking states by the happiness of its residents. The WalletHub team compared all 50 states and the District of Columbia on 26 key metrics, including emotional health, income levels and sports participation rates.
Happiest States in the U.S.
Utah is the happiest state in the U.S., according to WalletHub’s 2014 State Happiness Rankings. Utah scored 3rd in Emotional & Physical Well-Being Rank, 1st in Community, Environment & Recreational Activities Rank and 2nd in Work rank.
Minnesota came in second in the overall rankings. The Gopher State came in first in Emotional & Physical Well-Being Rank, 3rd in Community, Environment & Recreational Activities Rank and 4th in Work rank. North Dakota came in 3rd on the state happiness list, coming in 10th in Emotional & Physical Well-Being Rank, 6th in Community, Environment & Recreational Activities Rank and 3rd in Work rank.
Least Happy States per Wallet Hub’s 2014 State Happiness Rankings
It turns out that West Virginia is the least happy state in the union, ranked at 51 in Wallethub’s state happiness rankings. West Virginia came in 51st in Emotional & Physical Well-Being Rank, 50th in Community, Environment & Recreational Activities Rank and 46th in Work rank. Alabama came in 50th place on the list, with an Emotional & Physical Well-Being Rank of 49th, a Community, Environment & Recreational Activities Rank of 47th and a Work rank of 42nd. Mississippi was ranked third to last at 49th on the overall state happiness list. The Magnolia State came in 42nd Emotional & Physical Well-Being Rank, 51st in Community, Environment & Recreational Activities Rank and 51st in Work rank.