As the personal finance website WalletHub points out, over the past year and a half, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted life as we know it and hurt many people’s mental health with four in 10 adults reporting symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder. In light of this, WalletHub searched for the states that will most promote happiness in the wake of COVID-19 and ranked them from happiest to least happy.
The website’s results placed Virginia among the happiest states in the union at the No. 17 spot.
In this study, WalletHub drew upon the findings of “happiness” research to determine which environmental factors are linked to a person’s overall well-being and satisfaction with life. Previous studies have found that good economic, emotional, physical, and social health are all key to a well-balanced and fulfilled life.
To determine where Americans exhibit the best combination of these factors, WalletHub examined the 50 states across 31 metrics divided into three key dimensions: 1) Emotional and physical well-being, 2) Work environment and 3) community and environment.
Among the metrics and their individual rankings that contributed to Virginia’s relatively high place in the survey with the lower numbers indicated the most happiness were the percentage of depressed adults: 13; the suicide rate: 11; the long-term unemployment rate: 28; the volunteer rate: 21; the separation and divorce rate: 17; safety: 15; COVID-19 positive tests in the past week per capita: 20.
Among the metrics in the emotional and physical well-being dimension WalletHub used to determine its rankings were adverse childhood experiences, the share of adult depression, social well-being, the share of adults with alcohol use disorder, adequate sleep rate, and sports participation rate.
Some of the metrics included in WalletHub’s work environment dimension to determine the rankings were the number of work hours, commute time, the share of households earning annual incomes above $75,000, the share of adults worried about money, the current unemployment rate, and the long-term unemployment rate.
The metrics used in the community and environment dimension were the volunteer rate, ideal weather, the average leisure time spent per day, the separation and divorce rate, and safety.
According to WalletHub’s survey, the ten states in the union most promoting happiness in the wake of COVID-19 are 1. Utah 2. Minnesota 3. Hawaii 4. California 5. North Dakota 6. South Dakota 7. Idaho 8. Maryland 9. New Jersey 10. Massachusetts.
Ranking in the bottom of WalletHub’s happiness scale were 41. New Mexico 42. Alaska 43. Alabama 44. Tennessee 45. Kentucky 46. Oklahoma 47. Mississippi 48. Louisiana 49. Arkansas 50. West Virginia.