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The Happiest States in America—Did Yours Make the List?

Feeling cheery? It may be because of where you live. Check to see if your state made the list of happiest states in the country.

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To crown a state the happiest of all is a tall order, but several surveys and polls have done the work for us. We rounded up the top 10 happiest states, five according to a 2017 large-scale study and five from a 2016 poll of over 170,000 people across the U.S. First up, in the 2017 Wallethub study, analysts looked at emotional and physical well-being, work environment, and community and environment in all 50 states. Their pick for the happiest state: Minnesota. While Minnesota didn’t hit the top spot on any of aforementioned three categories, it made the top five in all of them, putting it at the number-one happiest state overall.

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It’s easy to see how Utah landed number two on WalletHub’s study. It was the state with both the best work environment (such as number of work hours and job security), and community and environment (including safety, hours of leisure time, and divorce rates). If you’re going for a visit, Utah has some of the best camping in the country.



Even though Hawaii got the number-three spot in the Wallethub study, Hawaiians earned the title of the happiest state in the U.S. for the sixth time in eight years, according to a 2016 Gallup poll. The pollsters interviewed more than 177,000 U.S. adults across all 50 states, ranking state residents’ happiness according to metrics such as personal purpose, community pride, and social, financial, and physical well-being. Hawaii residents lead the nation in three of the five categories: managing their economic lives, maintaining good health, and liking where they live. The Hawaiian language itself my contribute to their state of zen.



California’s most famous residents may be movie stars, hippies, and tech giants, but this coastal state also hosts some of the happiest people in the United States. It landed number four on WalletHub’s list, including coming in second for emotional and physical wellbeing—which included Gallup’s well-being rank, plus adequate sleep rate, share of depression, and more. It also ranked 13th happiest on Gallup’s survey. Not too shabby!



This Midwestern state ranked fifth on WalletHub’s analysis, plus had a good showing for Gallup, landing at number 15. Move there and you can expect some of the lowest long-term unemployment rates and the highest rates getting adequate sleep in America, according to WalletHub. For anyone who doesn’t live there, these 13 secrets from sleep doctors can help you get some shut-eye.

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For the third year in a row, Alaska ranked among the top two states for well-being in the country, according to the Gallup poll. Like Hawaii, Alaska also earned high honors in three of the five categories: financial, physical, and social well-being. Its best ranking? Social well-being, at top in the nation! According to the poll, Alaskans feel that they have supportive relationships and love in their lives.

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South Dakota

Very few people are more financially secure than those living in South Dakota. The state has consistently been ranked one of the happiest states in America, but in 2016, South Dakotans also topped the Gallup poll’s list for financial well-being—not to mention third overall happiest.



A little ice and snow won’t stop the people of Maine, who live in one of the best states for physical well-being, according to Gallup. In the state ranked fourth in overall well-being, locals not only tend to exercise more and eat healthier foods, but they also consume less alcohol, drugs, and tobacco than the rest of the nation. Maybe that’s why it was deemed the second safest state by WalletHub. These are the best healthy-eating tips of all time.

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Colorado finished in the Gallup poll’s top 10 happiest states in the U.S. for the ninth straight year, joining Hawaii as the only two states to earn this distinction. Why? Residents of Colorado, which ranked fifth overall, are more in shape than most Americans, earning one of the top honors for physical well-being. Plus, WalletHub says its residents have the best sleep habits in America. These fresh takes on fitness for 2017 will keep your workout from getting boring.



Citizens of Vermont don’t have to go far for a community that promotes active living. Their state ranked among the best for physical well-being, according to Gallup, which means its residents are in good health and have enough energy to get things done day-to-day. At sixth on Gallup and thirteenth on WalletHub, Vermont is one happy state. Here are some unusual ways to be happy—right now!

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Are you a go-getter and love your job? Then you might just be an Arizonan. Arizona scored second highest in Gallup’s “purpose well-being” category, which indicates that residents like what they do every day and feel motivated to achieve their goals. These are the astonishing facts you never knew about our 50 states.



Montana is another consistent name from year-to-year on Gallup’s list of happiest states. Residents in this Western state not only like where they live, but they also feel a strong sense of pride in their community. They’re one of the top states for a good night’s sleep, found WalletHub. Montana is one destination for some of the country’s most scenic road trips.



Texas nabbed the honor of one of the ten happiest states in the U.S. last year for Gallup, making a much stronger showing than in previous years. Texans can probably thank their leaders for the boost; they have joined others in launching “Blue Zone Project Initiatives” in the state, which are designed to improve key aspects of well-being through projects like making healthy choices more accessible in restaurants and grocery stores.



Florida may be known as the Sunshine State, but its residents have sunny dispositions too. According to the authors of the Gallup poll, “Florida bucks the low well-being trend in the South,” ranking among the best states for finding supportive relationships and love. It does have its share of dumb laws, though.



This small state packs a big punch when it comes to its residents’ physical well-being, perhaps in part because it has some of America’s best hiking trails. Not only did it lead in Gallup’s physical well-being category, but it is also one of three Northeastern states to do so. More good news? WalletHub deemed it one of the states with the least number of working hours.

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North Dakota

Like their Southern counterparts, citizens of North Dakota are among the most financially secure in the nation. The Gallup poll ranked the state as fourth best in financial well-being, indicating that its residents are more likely to afford basic necessities and avoid financial worry. No surprise, then, that WalletHub says it’s the state with the lowest long-term unemployment and has the highest income growth.

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If you’re looking for a strong, safe community that you can take pride in, look no further than this Northwestern state. Idaho earned one of the highest honors for community well-being in the nation, according to Gallup. Don’t see your state on the list? You can still get happy, according to the creator of The Happiness Project.

Brooke Nelson
Brooke Nelson is a tech and consumer products writer covering the latest in digital trends, product reviews, security and privacy, and other news and features for RD.com.