The happiest & unhappiest states in the union

Gallup has compiled various statistics about “well-being” (health, work, emotional satisfaction, etc.) and has come up with a ranking of  states according to how happy they are.  The most happy states, according to this study, are North Dakota and South Dakota.  The least happy is West Virginia.  In general, the happiest states are those of the upper midwest, and the least happy are those of the deep south.

Now I grant that such studies are very limited and that happiness is not all it’s cracked up to be.  But let’s use this as an occasion to discuss regional differences.

See the top 10 and the bottom 10 after the jump, and go to the Gallup site for more details.

How would you account for the differences?  Some preliminary observations and questions:  The least happy states are poorer than normal, though the wealthiest states are not necessarily the happiest.  Is there something about rural economies, wide-open spaces, and/or natural beauty (especially mountains) that correlate to happiness?  What about the religious differences  (Lutheran strongholds vs. Baptist strongholds)?  What else?  And maybe someone who lives there can tell us what’s so great about the Dakotas.From Gallup (go to the site for details and the rankings of other states).

Well-Being: Bottom 10 States in 2013

Well-Being: Top 10 States in 2013

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