The happiest states in the USA

50 different states make up the U.S., and naturally, some are happier places to live than others. Factors like the affordability of the area, availability of good schools, and a feeling of security all contribute to how much a person enjoys living somewhere, There’s a lot to take into consideration, but fortunately, the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index has done all the legwork for us. If you’re thinking about moving and don’t live in any of these states, maybe it’s time that you do.

South Dakota (+ North Dakota)

This state is one of the few to have improved its score this year. It achieved a 64.1 out of 100 and is now the happiest place to live. It ranked well regarding people being motivated and enjoying what they do, as well as feeling safe and being able to manage their finances. It’s companion state North Dakota also fared pretty well, landing at number five with a score of 63.06. This northern state has excellent financial stability and motivation, although not as much pride in the community.


Although second on the list, Vermont was only .01 from equaling South Dakota at the top. This state scored highly in many aspects, including ones that the former didn’t excel in. Things like having a supportive circle and good health were big wins for Vermont, alongside others. It was only motivation where the state failed to crack the top five, although its other success makes it a pretty well-rounded place to live.


Despite being the happiest place to live previously, Hawaii has fallen in the rankings to number three. Its decline from 65.2 down to 63.39 is one of the most significant drops this year. That may be because it’s lacking in financial security and physical fitness, the former of which it previously excelled in. Despite these dips, though, Hawaii is still strong in other areas and a worthy place to live for a dose of happiness.

Minnesota (+ Colorado)

Fourth on the list is Minnesota with 63.12. As with Hawaii, the state has dropped its score since the previous year, although only by a tiny margin. Minnesota excels with financial stability, meaning its inhabitants live a more stress-free life when it comes to their economic life. However, this is the only factor where it ranks within the top five states. It’s a similar case with Colorado which lands in sixth position with 62.87. The one area where it truly stands out is with its security and pride where its second only to Vermont.

New Hampshire, Idaho, Utah + Montana

The rest of the top ten is made up of New Hampshire, Idaho, Utah and Montana. The last of these is the only one on the list not to hit the top five in at least one area. New Hampshire succeeds with supportive relationships, and Utah and Idaho with pride in the community. Although these states only hit the top five in one area, they’re still doing well as a whole. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have reached the top ten.

Going forward

While these states may be the happiest to live in, there’s still a lot that can be done to improve them. The highest score was only 64.1 out of 100, meaning there’s a lot of room to grow going forward. People are hopeful about the future, however, thanks to the changes that millennials are already making. They’re primarily responsible for improving exercise, eating healthier and cutting down on smoking, all of which will lead to a happier way of life. With this generation leading the way as America’s future, it’s hopeful that scores for all these states will rise in the coming years.

Individual differences mean that no state can ever be home to an entire population of happy people. However, thanks to the availability of services, opportunity for jobs, affordable prices and so on, it’s at least possible to live a good life in these places.