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Indiana ranks among the least happiest states, study says

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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The state of Indiana falls in the bottom 20th percentile on a new ranking for the happiest states to live in by personal financial website WalletHub.

The results released Tuesday cite that more than 75% of Americans who have experienced price increases where they live report feeling “very” or “moderately” stressed.

In addition, only 50% of Americans feel “very satisfied” with the way their personal life is going.

The organization used 30 metrics related to depression rates, safety, income growth, and unemployment. The emotional and physical well-being indicators range from career well-being to food-insecurity, sports-participation to adequate-sleep.

A full explanation of WalletHub’s methodology can be found in a summary by a financial writer for the company.

Overall, Indiana emerged as one of the states with lower happiness levels, taking 40th position in the final ranking of “2023’s Happiest States in America.” Ohio fared slightly better, securing the 37th spot, while Kentucky lagged behind at 46th place.

The study dissected individual factors, shedding light on intriguing disparities among states. For instance, Mississippi was identified as the state with the lowest sports participation rate, whereas Colorado boasted the highest rate of residents getting adequate sleep.

Utah claimed the top position for having the fewest work hours, offering its inhabitants more leisure time.

Conversely, Florida found itself at the bottom of the list when it came to volunteerism, indicating a lower propensity for civic engagement.

In addition to these insights, the study highlighted that Alabama had the lowest sports participation rate, contrasting with Minnesota’s status as the state with the highest rate of residents getting sufficient sleep.

WalletHub incorporated what it referred to as expert insights in its summary of the comparison. Within this summary, the organization featured quotes from diverse industry experts, offering advice to individuals exploring potential places to reside and to state leaders looking for opportunities to enhance the appeal of their communities.

University of Mary Washington Professor of Psychology Dr. Miriam Liss said she considers one’s autonomy to be the leading indicator in being happy where you live. Liss pointed to affordable housing for what policymakers can do to attact and retain new residents.

“It is important to live where you can afford housing without being financially stressed and where you can build some sort of community and develop strong friendship networks. Research suggests that other variables such as weather are considerably less important than most people think,” Liss said.

Only two Midwestern states were ranked in the Top 10; Minnesota at 4th and Nebraska at 10th. West Virgina ranked lowest as the saddest state in which to live, according to WalletHub’s overall rating.

Happiest states in the U.S.

Overall Rank*  State Total Score  Emotional & Physical Well-Being  Work Environment  Community & Environment 
1 Utah 69.79 16 1 1
2 Hawaii 66.42 1 25 30
3 Maryland 64.62 8 4 5
4 Minnesota 62.82 10 3 13
5 New Jersey 61.98 3 14 29
6 Connecticut 60.68 6 32 8
7 California 60.53 5 34 10
8 Florida 59.31 2 21 44
9 Idaho 59.31 30 6 2
10 Nebraska 58.92 12 7 25
11 Delaware 58.68 11 29 6
12 Massachusetts 58.43 4 16 48
13 North Dakota 58.02 14 5 21
14 Virginia 57.69 13 8 35
15 New Hampshire 57.29 20 19 9