States that rank last in happiness rating


There’s been a study recently completed ranking the states and the District of Columbia from high to low based on how residents felt about their quality of life and overall happiness.  Half of the states ranked in the bottom ten were on the east coast (PA just missed the bottom ten; it was ranked the 11th worst) and at the very bottom of the happiness scale was New York, followed by New Jersey and Connecticut.  Many of the states ranked at the top were southern states.

The fact that the east coast is so well represented at the bottom on this scale owes much to the high cost of living, especially around such things as housing, insurance, health care and etc.  When you add crowding and the lack of open space on top of the economic stresses, there’s little surprise that denizens of the east coast aren’t happy campers.  The Midwest is also well represented in the bottom ten (Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and Illinois).  The problem there is jobs.  At some point, my guess is that people in some of these areas are going to vote with their feet. There’s evidence this is occurring already.

10 Responses to “States that rank last in happiness rating”
  1. Arkansas ranked 17th and Louisiana ranked #1. Poor folks don’t have the stresses of the corporate world. We are happy with sharing a few potatoes grown in our backyard with the neighbors. Giving = Happiness.

  2. Greg L says:

    Thanks for your comments LaTonya.

    I agree that poor folks in the south tend to lead less stressful lives particularly if they’re not striving for “things” or so called trappings of success. For sure, that’s reflected in the rankings.

    We have poor folks here in the east as well, but many juxtapose their situation against the vast riches that others have while being sold the idea that their self worth is tied to having “things”. I’m sure that contributes to a lot of unhappiness.

  3. [quote]The problem there is jobs. At some point, my guess is that people in some of these areas are going to vote with their feet. There’s evidence this is occurring already.[/quote]

    You are correct.
    Unfortunately they are moving to the South from their failed Northeastern states, claiming that WE are backward that they will help us to PROGRESS, transforming our states into the Utopias…..that they just departed.

    Southern States poised to pick up congressional seats from Rust Belt states:

  4. James McCoy says:

    The folks doing these studies left Pittsburgh out of their PA. count.Folks here are still waiting for the Steel Mills to crank up again.

    • Greg L says:

      Thanks for your comment James. They’ll be waiting a for good bit of time for the Steel Mills to return.

      The unemployment that we have is structural. It was masked for a short time by the financial bubbles, but the tide has come in and we can now see that many have been swimming naked. There will be massive dislocations as a result and I think the out migration from certain states is evidence of that.

      California is also in the bottom ten on the list and their problems have been given short shrift in the press here of late. California accounts for approx 13% of US GDP and its budgetary problems are so severe that it has had to resort to literally bumming money from citizens by raising payroll withholding with the promise that folks will get the excess amount back at tax time. That’s doubtful, especially since they were issuing IOU’s earlier this year for vendors and tax refunds. We can definitely expect people to exit that state as it is truly an economic basket case along the lines of Michigan, but made worst due to the imploding real estate bubble and the ridiculous cost of living. An eroding tax base in certain states may kill them as viable entities which will exacerbate the exodus.

      I don’t know what the ultimate solutions will be to our economic problems. I do know that the path will include a cleansing of all of the excess and a major revamping of how we’ve structured the economy. The primary questions revolve around to the extent we’re ready to discard the notions of too big to fail and whether or not a private cabal of bankers should be allowed to control the nation’s money supply. It seems to me that these two issues are at the center of all of the problems.

  5. James McCoy says:

    Greg one question that has cross my mine is how can we recover from fraud in the real estate market and wall street with their creative stocks and dirivites.Wouldn’t our economic system need a complete over haul of this fraud and waste before a real recovery begin?Honestly nothing is being done differently except the banks and credit card companies are getting new laws in place to continue to milk the average account holder.

  6. Greg L says:


    Your assessment is correct. An entire overhaul of the economy and addressing the waste and fraud is necessary before any recovery can begin. Unfortunately, this is not the path that’s being pursued. The Obama administration has elected to continue the Bush policy of saving the financial oligarchs rather than allowing market forces to remove them from power. In effect, these policies are allowing certain financial institutions to get larger and to position themselves to acquire banking assets from banks that have yet to fail.

    This is a disaster in the making. Many people have criticized the recent healthcare bill as a fiscal albatross, but have overlooked a far larger threat in my opinion. That threat is the consolidation of the control of certain banking/Wall Street interests over the financial economy and the debasement of our currency by the fed’s incessant money printing and our government’s inability to control and prioritize spending.

    For the average person, this means that we’ll ultimately paying a stealth tax as inflation erodes the spending power of our dollars and increased tax levies to fund federal government largess and failing states and cities. It’s really not a pretty picture.

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