Where Happiness Goes to Die: The Top 10 Most Miserable States in the US

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There are several ways to measure unhappiness. One approach is to use surveys or polls that ask people about their level of happiness or satisfaction with their lives. For example, the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index is a survey that measures the well-being of people in the United States. It asks them about their physical and emotional health, work environment, social relationships, financial security, and sense of community. 

Another way to gauge peoples’ happiness is to use data on factors that are known to be related to happiness. These factors include income, employment, health, social connections, and access to education and other resources. The United States Census Bureau and other government agencies collect data on these and other factors at the state level, which can be used to compare the well-being of people in different states.

1. Missouri

Living in Missouri presents several negative aspects. These include a hot, humid climate with extreme temperature fluctuations, low wages and median income compared with the rest of the country, and high taxes including local sales taxes as high as 8.29%.

The poor quality of life in Missouri has resulted in many people moving out of state and professional sports teams like the Rams leaving for greener pastures. There’s a lack of inclusivity and tolerance in the state, as it was ranked 49th out of 50 by CNBC. 

If that’s not enough to put a damper on your happiness, Missouri has a high abundance of pests including bugs, rats, squirrels, and armadillos.  

2. New Mexico

Residents of New Mexico report a lower level of happiness because of factors like poor-performing schools, poor infrastructure and roads, a poor job market, high poverty rate, and a reliance on driving for transportation. 

And while they’re works of fiction, anyone who’s seen Breaking Bad or Better Call Saul will be familiar with drug addiction issues and high crime rates in some areas of the state. If that’s not enough, much of the state faces extremely hot and dry summer conditions.

Hot Tip: Living in one of these states doesn’t mean you have to move! Consider your circumstances and find happiness in the things that matter.

3. Tennessee

Tennesseeans face a number of challenges, some of which include low education levels, high rates of health issues, and a higher-than-average crime rate. Another commonly-faced problem in the state is inadequate infrastructure.

4. Oklahoma

There are certain challenges and issues that Oklahoma faces, such as low levels of education and high rates of poverty. Oklahoma also ranks poorly in certain measures of well-being, such as the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, which takes into account factors such as physical and emotional health, work environment, social relationships, and financial security.

5. Mississippi

Mississippi faces numerous challenges that get in the way of happiness, including poor infrastructure, a poorly-funded and segregated education system, high illiteracy rates, high rates of food and water insecurity, and a corrupt government. 

There’s also the issue of brain drain. Many educated Mississippi residents leave the state in search of better employment and lifestyle opportunities once they’ve obtained completed their education.

6. Alabama

Poverty is a significant factor that affects education outcomes in Alabama. According to the Education Policy Center at the University of Alabama, there’s a clear link between persistent poverty and poor education outcomes. 

In Alabama, the poverty rate stands at 16.8%, which is more than three percentage points higher than the national poverty rate of 13.1%. This high poverty rate in Alabama is likely to have negative impacts on the education of children in the state.

7. Kentucky

According to a study by sleep experts Amerisleep, Kentucky is the unhappiest state in the US. The study used 17 factors to determine happiness, including mental health, income, and environment.

The study did not specify why Kentucky ranked poorly, but it considered factors such as depression and insufficient sleep rates, overall safety, the number of health clubs, the number of hospitals, the average number of working hours, state income growth, divorce, and volunteer rates, the average commute time to work or school, the size of the average home, the number of parks in the state, the amount of open space and rural beauty, and the number of higher education institutions.

8. Arkansas

A new report has revealed that children in Arkansas are struggling to live happy and healthy lives, especially those in underrepresented communities. The report, published by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, ranked Arkansas as 43rd out of 50 states in terms of the challenges faced by children in terms of health, economy, education, and other issues.

The report focuses on youth mental health and found that the number of children aged 3-17 experiencing anxiety and/or depression increased by 26% nationwide between 2016 and 2020. Arkansas saw a particularly large increase of 67.4% in the number of children with anxiety or depression.

9. Louisiana

A new study has ranked Louisiana as the second most miserable state in the US. The study by 24/7 Wall Street found that Louisiana is one of several southern states with a low well-being ranking. Only 69.3% of people in the state feel safe and secure, according to the report, which attributes the low sense of safety partly to the state’s high crime rate. Additionally, more than 20% of Louisianians live in poverty, the second highest poverty rate in the country.

10. West Virginia

West Virginia has been ranked the least happy state in the US in a survey conducted by WalletHub. The survey used three key dimensions – emotional and physical well-being, work environment, and community and environment – and 30 metrics to rank the states. West Virginia ranked poorly in categories including adult depression and adequate-sleep rates.

The survey’s weighted categories mean that factors such as depression and alcohol use had a larger impact on the overall happiness score. West Virginia’s ranking may be influenced by its rural nature, which can make access to mental health support difficult or costly for some residents. Approximately 31.7% of adults in West Virginia experience depression and anxiety.

In conclusion, the top 10 most miserable states in the US have a variety of issues that contribute to the unhappiness of their residents. These issues range from poor infrastructure and education, extreme weather conditions, low wages, high poverty rates, and a lack of inclusivity and tolerance. Understanding and addressing these challenges may be necessary to improve the well-being and happiness of people living in these states.