Utah, Hawaii Happiest States; W. Va. Not So Much: Poll

Happiness poll links bliss to wealth
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted Mar 11, 2009 4:10 PM CDT
A shuttered factory is shown in Carlisle, Ky. The southern state ranked among the least happy in the US. Researchers attributed some of that to its poor economic health.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Money can't buy happiness? Tell that to 350,000 Americans surveyed in a Gallup study. The jolliest congressional districts were also among the wealthiest, the gloomiest among the poorest. Researchers also attributed contentment to factors like outdoor recreation and a young population, the AP reports. Utah, Hawaii, and Wisconsin ranked highest among states, while Mississippi, Kentucky, and West Virginia finished last.

Participants were asked questions like, "Did you smile or laugh a lot yesterday?" to rate their mental, physical, and economic health. Generally, Western states fared better, Southern states worse, but the survey’s 100-point scale actually showed a small difference between blissful Utah—at 69.2—and gloomy West Virginia—at 61.2. That means even the best states have room to grow, says a researcher.