These Are the Happiest (and Unhappiest) States in the U.S.

Read on to see how each state stacked up, and why.

Sean Pavone/Shutterstock
Sean Pavone/Shutterstock
Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

If you’re wondering who made it through 2022 as the happiest group of people in the United States, a new WalletHub study has the answers. In a ranking of all 50 states, the happiest and least happiest may surprise you.

“In order to determine the happiest states in America, WalletHub compared the 50 states across three key dimensions: 1) Emotional & Physical Well-Being, 2) Work Environment and 3) Community & Environment,” the personal finance website’s study states. “We evaluated those dimensions using 30 relevant metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weights. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing maximum happiness.”

That’s a very precise way of saying that the results of the below ranking aren’t just based on a lot of guesswork.

These are the 10 happiest states, according to WalletHub data:
1. Hawaii
2. Maryland
3. Minnesota
4. Utah
5. New Jersey
6. Idaho
7. California
8. Illinois
9. Nebraska
10. Connecticut

Hawaii, the happiest state based on this ranking has an overall score of 66.31 out of 100 – which is still a D. So, that’s kind of bleak. But, at the top of the list, that means that Hawaii is home to people that have an overall happier quality of life compared to everyone else. Maryland, coming in second place, narrowly edges out over third place Minnesota. All of the top three states were also among the top 10 in last year’s ranking from WalletHub, though Maryland experienced a significant jump, coming in eighth place last year. Utah, New Jersey, Idaho, and California also made repeat appearances among the top 10 this year.

Now, on the very bottom of the least are the 10 least happy states, according to the WalletHub study.
41. Missouri
42. New Mexico
43. Tennessee
44. Oklahoma
45. Mississippi
46. Alabama
47. Kentucky
48. Arkansas
49. Louisiana
50. West Virginia

All 10 states on this list ranked low in the Emotional & Physical Well-Being, Work Environment, and Community & Environment portions of the analysis. Living in an environment that doesn’t aid in your happiness can make a major impact on your life.

“Community environments have an important influence on happiness and health. In addition to your daily activities and choices, living in a community that offers access to resources and opportunities, and engenders a sense of safety, belonging, connection, and support helps people to thrive,” Maryam Kia-Keating, a clinical psychologist and founder of Power of Drishti Meditations, told WalletHub. “Schools, neighbourhoods, and community and faith-based organizations can play a big role in helping support well-being and cultivating collective happiness.”

If you are thinking about switching up your environment (maybe you’re in one of those states that rank low on happiness-or maybe your state’s happiness ranking isn’t ringing true to you-Thrillist has all the information you need to relocate. Check out the best towns and cities in America for future homebuyers, and the most popular states to move to this year.

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Opheli Garcia Lawler is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @opheligarcia and Instagram @opheligarcia.


Mad Mex’s New Menu Item Is Inspired by a Popular Mexican Street Food

mad mex chicken al pastor

Mexican restaurant chain Mad Mex has dropped a new protein, and it’s one of the most popular street foods in Mexico.

Enter, Chicken Al Pastor. It’s traditionally made with pork and grilled on a spinning rotisserie with a pineapple sitting a top, but Mad Mex has put its own spin on it, serving chicken bathed in an Al Pastor marinade with a touch of juicy pineapple.

You can order the protein-packed filling in your favourite burrito, bowl, quesadilla, nachos, or in a taco.

As always, these things are here for a good time, not a long time. Pop into your local Mad Mex restaurant, order delivery or through the Mad Mex app today.

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