Personal finance website WalletHub released 2017’s Happiest States in America today, finding that Minnesota is the “happiest” overall based on their metrics, but that when it comes to the state with the highest income growth, North Dakota is number one, among many other findings.
Here are some key takeaways from the survey.
These states are the key players overall
The researchers took a look at all 50 states in terms of three dimensions (“Work Environment,” “Emotional & Physical Well-Being,” and “Community & Environment”) and looked at the dimensions via 28 metrics.
Each state got a total score out of 100 (this number being the happiest), and then were ranked.
Minnesota was at the top of the heap at #1, (total score of 70.81), with Utah in second place (total score of 68.16), Hawaii in third place (total score 67.90), California in fourth (total score of 66.55), and Nebraska was in fifth (total score of 65.65).
Rounding out the bottom were Arkansas at #46 (total score of 37.33), Alabama at #47 (total score of 36.60), Louisiana at #48 (total score of 35.35), Oklahoma at #49 (total score of 34.97), and West Virginia at #50 (total score of 34.89).
Income growth by state
The research included findings on states with the most and least income growth.
The five with the highest amount were North Dakota at #1, South Dakota at #2, Wyoming at #3, Oklahoma at #4 and Alaska at #5.
The five with the lowest amount were California at #46, Georgia at #47, Florida at #48, Arizona at #49, and Nevada at #50.
Work hours by state
The study took a look at states with the most and fewest work hours.
Among states with the lowest amount were Utah at #1, Oregon at #2, Rhode Island at #3, Massachusetts at #4, and Michigan and Vermont tied at #5.
Among states with the highest amount of work hours were Louisiana at #46, Texas at #47, and North Dakota and Wyoming tied at #48 and Alaska at #50.
This is what it takes to be happy in work and life, experts say
The research also featured commentary from a group of experts on how various factors influence happiness.
Kimberly A. Daubman, Associate Professor of Psychology at Bucknell University, said that, “people who can find meaning in their work are happier. Finding flow is also key, which suggests that people should avoid multitasking and focus fully on the task at hand.”
Many of us know what it’s like to work somewhere that makes you say, “it’s just a job” because of a lack of passion for the position, so finding something that speaks to you — and being fully present when getting work done — could be keys to a healthier work life. (But if you must multitask, here’s how to do it right.)
Jennifer Zwagerman, Director of Career Development and Associate Director of the Agricultural Law Center at Drake University, commented on how to have a happy life. She said it comes down to “finding things that satisfy you, both personally and professionally, to provide some balance.”
“You won’t always be happy in both, you won’t always find balance in both, but if overall you can look at the big picture and realize that you do enjoy what you do professionally (most of the time), and that you have a life outside work that you enjoy, that’s a good step towards a happy life,” she said.
No matter what U.S. state you live in, you can take steps to make sure you’re getting the most out of your career and your life.