People in sunny, outdoorsy states — Louisiana, Hawaii, Florida — say they’re the happiest Americans, and researchers think they know why.
A new study comparing self-described pleasant feelings with objective measures of good living found these folks generally have reason to feel fine.
The places where people are most likely to report happiness also tend to rate high on studies comparing things like climate, crime rates, air quality and schools.
The happiness ratings were based on a survey of 1.3 million people across the country by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It used data collected over four years that included a question asking people how satisfied they are with their lives….
Ranking No. 1 in happiness was Louisiana, home of Dixieland music and Cajun/Creole cooking.
[Economist Andrew J. Oswald] urged a bit of caution in that ranking, however, noting that part of the happiness survey occurred before Hurricane Katrina struck the state, and part of it took place later. Nevertheless, he said, “We have no explicit reason to think there is a problem” with the ranking.
Rounding out the happy five were Hawaii, Florida, Tennessee and Arizona.
At the other end of the scale, last in happiness — is New York state.