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The 10 Happiest States in America

U.S. News & World Report - Health logo U.S. News & World Report - Health 9/11/2017 David Oliver

Happy couple reading paperwork at laptop: The company rated happiness in all 50 states according to three categories – emotional and physical well-being, work environment and community and environment. © (Getty Images) The company rated happiness in all 50 states according to three categories – emotional and physical well-being, work environment and community and environment. You may be a happy person, but are you living in a happy state?

Happiness isn't something so easily defined – it can mean different things for different people. But there are a series of factors that are associated with happiness – think good economic, emotional, physical and social health – that WalletHub has used to help shape its "2017's Happiest States in America" report.

WalletHub named Minnesota the happiest state in the U.S., followed by Utah and Hawaii. California, Nebraska, New Jersey and more helped round out the top 10. The most unhappy state was West Virginia.

The company rated happiness in all 50 states according to three categories – emotional and physical well-being, work environment and community and environment. These categories were judged based on 28 ratings metrics. For example, emotional and physical well-being included factors like physical health index, share of adult depression and adequate-sleep rate.

Other metrics studied were highest income growth, highest volunteer rate and amount of work hours. States with the fewest work hours were Utah, Oregon, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Michigan and Vermont. States with the most work hours were Louisiana, Texas, North Dakota, Wyoming and Alaska.

Researchers also took suicide rate into account. New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Connecticut – evidently, much of the Northeast – had the lowest suicide rates, while Utah, New Mexico, Montana, Alaska and Wyoming had the highest.

The top 10 happiest states can be found below, and a complete list is available here.

Overall RankStateWork Environment Rank
1Minnesota5
2Utah1
3Hawaii10
4California21
5Nebraska15
6New Jersey41
7South Dakota16
8Iowa8
9Wisconsin9
10New Hampshire22

Better; not perfect: If achieving health was nothing more than following a fail-proof prescription, we’d always fill half our plates with vegetables, <a href="http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/slideshows/sleep-better">sleep soundly</a> for at least eight hours a night, engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week and promptly show up for each physical, dentist appointment and flu vaccination. But we live in the real world, where <a href="http://health.usnews.com/wellness/articles/2017-03-23/does-your-food-really-expire-and-when-should-you-be-concerned">vegetables rot</a>, babies scream at night, ankles sprain and calendars get double-booked. So how can you make the best choice for your health when faced with two not-so-great options? U.S. News asked health experts to weigh in on eight such dilemmas: Which Is Worse? Experts Choose the Lesser of 8 Pairs of Health Evils

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