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Hawaii tops ranking as Happiest State in America

Hawaii may have a double-digit unemployment rate and a virtual tourism lockdown, but the state ranks as the Happiest State in America, according to a WalletHub study released Tuesday.

The Aloha State beat out Utah, Minnesota, New Jersey, Maryland, California, North Dakota, Iowa, Idaho, and Connecticut on the top 10 list, according to 32 metrics that were used to determine the rankings.

“Happiness is a feeling of joy, contentment, and overall positive emotions,” Dr. Chieh-Chen Bowen of Cleveland State University’s psychology department said in a WalletHub statement. “Happiness is a universal goal. We all want to be happy and want such feelings to last.”

To measure happiness, WalletHub used three categories on a 100-point scale, weighting “emotional and physical well-being” with 50 points and “work environment” and “community and environment” with 25 points each.

Hawaii’s overall No. 1 ranking was achieved by finishing second for “emotional and physical well-being,” after New Jersey, and third for “community and environment,” following Utah and Idaho. Hawaii placed 16th for “work and environment,” with Utah and Idaho also topping that category.

WalletHub has been doing its Happiest States study since 2014, but noted that COVID-19 as disrupted lift this year by causing sickness, limiting social interactions, and leading to widespread job losses.

The bottom of the list starts with Missouri in 40th place, followed by Oregon, Alaska, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and West Virginia, which finished last.

Before lockdowns began in March, WalletHub released the results of its Happiest Cities in America study using similar metrics. Fremont, Calif.; Plano, Texas; San Jose, Calif.; Irvine, Calif.; and Madison, Wis. cracked the top five. Pearl City was the top city from Hawaii in 10th place while Honolulu ranked 56th.

WalletHub noted that this isn’t the first contentment study that Hawaii has ranked at the top. For seven years, it also placed first in Gallup’s overall well-being rankings.

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