Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Happiest States in the U.S.A.

Disney World may be "The Happiest Place on Earth," but its home state of Florida was beat out as happiest state by some unlikely locales. According to a recently released Gallup survey, Utah, Hawaii and Wyoming are the happiest states in the U.S., and West Virginia is the least happy.

What makes a state "happy" you ask? Through more than 350,000 interviews with inhabitants of various states, Gallup attempted to determine the well-being of the residents, based on things like feelings of safety in their community, eating habits, satisfaction with their job and work environment, and whether they smile or laugh a lot. Each survey was scored based on the answers given and an average score was calculated to determine the rankings. Results are also given by congressional district. (Check out the full list to find out how your state ranks.)

I was a little surprised by the top three. Okay, two of the top three...I can totally understand why people in Hawaii are happy! The other two are not exactly the places where people dream of moving, but maybe that's part of why the people there are so happy. When I think of serenity and relaxation, I think of somewhere calm and quiet, without stress. For me, the ideal place is on a beach somewhere warm, but it's quite possible that the same things can be found in unexpected places. As exciting as it is to live in New York, it can get pretty intense. No, I'm not planning on picking up and moving to Wyoming anytime soon, but this survey definitely got me thinking about happiness.

So, what do you think of this survey? Are you surprised by the top three states? I'd love to hear other people's opinions.

  • How do you judge your level of happiness?
  • What is it that makes you truly happy?
  • Is there anything we can do to make our states happier?

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