Now these scores are on a 100-point scale, and the difference between the happiest state (Utah at 69.2) and the lowest (West Virginia at 61.2) is only 8 points. So I suppose you could argue that all those extra taxes they pay over in the People's Democratic Republic of Minnesota aren't buying them much more happiness.
Then again, I could argue that even with all their radical socialism, Minnesotans are still happier than we no-tax, anarcho-capitalist South Dakotans.
The researchers based their ratings on interviews with 350,000 Americans throughout 2008. The respondents rated their "overall evaluation of their lives, emotional health, physical health, healthy behaviors (such as whether a person smokes or exercises), and job satisfaction."
The researchers warn this is all generalization: you can still find Pollyannas and crab apples in every state (though not in the blogosphere; we're all pretty much crab apples here ;-) ). Nonetheless, the researchers did find that states with higher happiness tended to have...
- higher GDP per capita
- higher median housing values
- more educated workers with "super-creative" jobs (ooo, that's me!)
- bohemians (you know: us artsy-fartsy types!)