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Happiest States: Maryland’s Ranking Is … Joy

From warm temperatures year-round to sun and surf, there’s not a lot of reason to be glum in Hawaii, which ranked first in an analysis that claims to report the happiest and unhappiest states in the U.S.

Maryland, on the other hand, has the occasional snowpocalypse or brush with a hurricane and seemingly endless traffic, but it’s offset by great food, beautiful scenery and plenty to do. Which may be why Marylanders are pretty happy, according to a new report.

To determine where Americans are the happiest, the personal finance website, WalletHub, examined the 50 states across 31 key metrics, ranging from depression rate, to job satisfaction, to separation and divorce rates.

Each relevant metric was then listed with its corresponding weight, and then graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing maximum happiness — the 31 weighted scores were then put together to give each state and individual score.

The Free State ranked eighth on the list overall, making Marylanders practically giddy, according to the report. Maryland finished fifth in “emotional and physical well-being,” a dismal 40th in “work environment,” and an upbeat 14th in “community and environment.” Another plus for Maryland: It had the fourth lowest suicide rate. We ranked among the five states with the highest long-term unemployment rate, just ahead of Florida and Illinois.

Money isn’t a driver of happiness, but it can increase it, according to the study — “Happiness only increases with wealth up to an annual income of $75,000 to $95,000.” An analysis from the journal Nature Human Behavior found that the $95,000 mark is ideal for “life evaluation,” which includes long-term goals, peer comparisons, and other macro-level metrics.

These are the states that made the top 10 of WalletHub’s rankings:

  1. Hawaii: 66.48
  2. Utah: 65.93
  3. Minnesota: 65.57
  4. California: 64.11
  5. New Jersey: 60.54
  6. Idaho: 60.51
  7. Massachusetts: 60.50
  8. Maryland: 59.53
  9. Nebraska: 59.04
  10. Connecticut: 57.93

Utah had the fewest hours worked in the country, as well as the highest volunteer rates, and the lowest divorce rate. Texas on the other hand finished as the least safe state in the U.S., and Oregon had the highest share of adult depression.

West Virginia took home the lowly honor of the unhappiest state.

Overall the 10 least happiest states in the country were:

40. New Mexico: 44.91
41. Missouri: 42.99
42. Tennessee: 42.75
43. Oklahoma: 40.56
44. Alabama: 40.11
45. Kentucky: 38.86
46. Louisiana: 38.41
47. Mississippi: 38.28
48. Alaska: 36.48
49. Arkansas: 34.07
50. West Virginia: 33.73

To see the story by Deb Belt as it originally appeared on Patch.com, click here

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