Apparently Gallup has something called a “Well-Being Index” for the US. You can see the report for September here. It is pretty high, being just .3 points lower than August when it had tied the highest score since measurement started 20 months ago.
Live Science has a break down of the report data by States. There you find that the following states are in the top 10:
The funny thing about this is that the explanation given for these results in the article above is that “U.S. states with wealthier, better educated and more tolerant residents are also happier on average”. It also says that “In addition, states with a greater proportion of artists and gays would also be places where residents can freely express themselves.”
Wait a second. Utah in first, Wyoming in third and Arizona in tenth? And the explanation is wealth, education and being nice to gay people? If only Mitt Romney had seen this data before!
If you go to this web site, you can actually see an interactive map and browse over all states to figure out some of the additional data. For instance, Utah is only the 39 out of 50 for average income. Wyoming is 36 and Arizona is 29.
How about education? For college graduation, Utah does rank well being 15th out of 50. But Wyoming is 33 and Arizona is 25.
How can these numbers support this theory that wealth and education are the biggest motivators of happiness?
When you look at the whole list, it becomes evident that there is some data point being missed here. Idaho is number 11 and Montana is number 12. Illinois is number 31, Pennsylvania 32 and New York ranks 35th. Ohio is number 47!
Political views or Religiosity are nowhere to be found in the data.