Georgia might not be the happiest state in the country, but it’s in the top 20.
Financial website WalletHub took into account factors both within the environment, society and personal well-being to determine a state’s happiness level.
For example, money can’t buy happiness. Wealth increases a person’s happiness only up to a $75,000 annual income.
“Research shows that subjective happiness increases with income up until a point, somewhere between $75,000 and $100,000,” said Amanda Watson Joyce, assistant professor of psychology at Murray State University. “Less than that, and financial stressors tend to decrease happiness, but more than that and people tend to begin to lose the ability to savor everyday pleasures.”
Where a person lives tends to have a big influence on happiness, experts say.
“Living in a democracy with economic stability is associated with relatively higher ratings of life satisfaction,” said Lauren Braswell, adjunct faculty in psychology at the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul. “In addition, being able to live close to important loved ones is also associated with relatively higher life satisfaction.”
For this study, WalletHub compared all 50 states in three main categories: emotional and physical well-being, work environment, and community and environment.
Within those three categories, WalletHub looked 31 relevant metrics, from how many adults have depression to job satisfaction to weather. Each metric was weighted and graded on a 100-point scale, with 100 being “maximum happiness.” You can see the full list of metrics here.
After tallying up the points, Georgia ranked No. 19 with a score of 55.15.
While Georgia came in at No. 7 in community and environment, it was 25th in emotional and physical well-being. In the work environment category, Georgia finished 16th.
So, what held Georgia back? In the metric “sports participation rate,” the state was near the bottom, at No. 47. Also, Georgia was No. 46 in “income growth.”
If you want to live in the happiest of these United States, you’ll have to move to Hawaii. With a score of 68.27, Hawaii was No. 1 in emotional and physical well-being, and No. 4 in community and environment.
Just steer clear of West Virginia, which came in at No. 50 with a score of 33.42.
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