How do you measure happiness? According to one adage, money cannot buy it. Perhaps it is tied to health or a good family life. A good job should be mixed in. So should the environment where people live. (These are the best jobs in America.)
The prescription drug consultant site NiceRx tried to measure the happiest and unhappiest states with its own methodology, and according to the results, the unhappiest state is Mississippi.
To make its determinations, NiceRx used metrics including rates of poverty and mental illness, life expectancy, median household income, a safety score, and homicide levels. The site drew data on life expectancy and homicide rate from the CDC. Data on the mean household income and safety ratings are from World Population Review, and data on each state’s rates of mental illness and poverty came from Data USA.
According to NiceRx, “These factors cover a range of different topics, from health and social affairs to economic matters. This provided us with a good overview of the different stresses and strains that people living in these states might experience.”
What did the research leave out? Certainly environmental factors like air and water pollution. Another measure omitted was good schools and colleges. Yet another was the presence of parks and retail amenities. However, the site’s yardsticks are as good as most others.
Once all factors were taken into account, each state was given a composite happiness score, ranging from 10 to zero, with the happiest state receiving the highest score. That state was Hawaii, with a score of 9.02. Its mean household income was high, at $103,780, and its poverty rate was a low 9.44%. Connecticut ranked second with a score of 8.82. Six of the top 10 states were in the Northeast. (These are the best and worst states to live in.)
The lowest-rated – unhappiest – state was Mississippi, at 2.06. It was followed by Louisiana, Arkansas, and Alabama in ascending order, as Southern states dominated the bottom of the list.