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MA Residents Are Pretty Darn Happy

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

 

Massachusetts has been ranked as the 16th happiest state in the United States, according to a study done by WalletHub. 

"Can money truly buy happiness? Most people might be inclined to say based on moral principles. But some researchers beg to differ, suggesting that money can indeed contribute to happiness — but only up to a certain dollar amount. According to their findings, life satisfaction, one of the two main components of happiness, increases as income rises — to a maximum of $75,000 a year. Beyond that figure, money makes little difference in a person’s overall contentment with life," said WalletHub. 

Rhode Island ranks 15th in emotional and physical well being, 26th in work environment and 17th in community & environment. 

The Rankings 

Mass ranks 16th behind Vermont and Wisconsin at 14 and 15, while ranking ahead of Connecticut and District of Columbia at 17 and 18 respectively. 

Utah is ranked as the happiest state in the country, while West Virginia is ranked as the most depressed state. 

See the map below for the full rankings 

Source: WalletHub

 

Methodology

In order to determine the happiest states in America, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across three key dimensions: 1) Emotional & Physical Well-Being, 2) Work Environment and 3) Community & Environment.

We evaluated these categories using 28 relevant metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weights. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with 100 representing maximum happiness.

We then calculated overall scores for each state using the weighted average across all metrics, which we then used to construct our final ranking.
Our analysis draws upon the findings of the following reports, each of which has indicated a correlation between the listed metrics and happiness:

  • Happy People Live Longer: Subjective Well-Being Contributes to Health and Longevity (Chan and Diener, 2010)
  • Happiness from Ordinary and Extraordinary Experiences (Bhattacharjee and Mogilner, 2014)
  • Sports Participation and Happiness: Evidence from U.S. Micro Data (Huang and Humphreys, 2010)
  • Unhappy Cities (Glaeser, et al., 2014)

Emotional & Physical Well-Being - Total Points: 50

  • Satisfaction Index (measures self-reported levels of general satisfaction with life): Full Weight (~4.00 Points)
  • Hedonometer Rank (measures personal expression of hedonism on social media): Half Weight (~2.00 Points)
  • Physical Health Index (measures self-reported effects of disease on personal happiness): Full Weight (~4.00 Points)
  • Depression Rate (measures percentage of individuals who were diagnosed with depression): Full Weight (~4.00 Points)
  • Adequate-Sleep Rate (measures self-reported effects of sleep deprivation on personal happiness): Full Weight (~4.00 Points)
  • Emotional Health Index (measures self-reported effects of emotional well-being on personal happiness): Full Weight (~4.00 Points)
  • Obesity Rate (measures percentage of overweight or obese individuals): Full Weight (~4.00 Points)
  • Binge-Drinking Rate (measures self-reported effects of high alcohol consumption on happiness): Half Weight (~2.00 Points)
  • Food Insecurity Rate: Full Weight (~4.00 Points)
  • Rate of Heart Attacks (measures percentage of individuals who were diagnosed with a heart attack): Half Weight (~2.00 Points)
  • Life Expectancy: Full Weight (~4.00 Points)
  • Sports Participation Rate (measures happiness gained from physical activity through sports): Full Weight (~4.00 Points)
  • Illness & Disability Index (measures self-reported effects of illness and disability on personal happiness): Full Weight (~4.00 Points)
  • Suicide Rate: Full Weight (~4.00 Points)

Work Environment - Total Points: 25

  • Commute Time: Half Weight (~2.08 Points)
  • Income Level (personal earnings adjusted by cost of living): Half Weight (~2.08 Points)
  • Number of Work Hours: Full Weight (~4.17 Points)
  • Current Unemployment Rate: Full Weight (~4.17 Points)
  • Long-Term Unemployment Rate: Full Weight (~4.17 Points)
  • Job Security (measures probability of unemployment): Full Weight (~4.17 Points)
  • Income-Growth Rate: Full Weight (~4.17 Points)

Community & Environment - Total Points: 25

  • Volunteerism Rate: Half Weight (~2.27 Points)
  • WalletHub “Weather” Ranking: Half Weight (~2.27 Points)
  • Number of Attractions: Half Weight (~2.27 Points)
  • Leisure Time Spent on an Average Day: Full Weight (~4.55 Points)
  • Divorce Rate (also includes adult population that is separated): Full Weight (~4.55 Points)
  • Population-Growth Rate: Full Weight (~4.55 Points)
  • WalletHub “Safety” Ranking: Full Weight (~4.55 Points)
 

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