According to a recent study by WalletHub, Utah ranks second (just below Hawaii) on a list of the “happiest states in America.”
Scream and howl all you want, but it’s a fact — or at least as factual as such studies can be. Maybe some guy named Wallet Hub just made it up.
Never mind. At No. 50, West Virginia is the unhappiest state. This surprises me because it’s beautiful and one of the funniest guys I know (Steve Hirzel) is from there. Arkansas is 49th and Louisiana 48th.
Before we start cheering for ourselves, we should note Utah didn’t achieve such a superior rank because of us Mormons.
Our happiness could well be due to all the antidepressants we take. According to which medicine study you believe, we rank somewhere in the top five. I’m one of the best customers.
Back to WalletHub. Regardless of your personal feelings about Utah, the rank of each state is determined by a combination of three categories.
• Emotional and physical well-being • Here Zion came in a disappointing 18th, right after Delaware (17) and just ahead of Colorado (19).
This might lend credence to the argument regarding Utah’s high consumption of psych meds. Marijuana is legal in both of those other states, although just medicinal in Delaware. Still.
• Work environment • We knocked it out of the park in this category. Here Utah is ranked numero uno, followed by Idaho (2) and Colorado (3).
I won’t even presume to understand why we’re considered tops in work environment. It’s no secret that the industry I work in is coming apart like a cardboard canoe. Also, my boss is not above kicking me whenever she needs to get my wandering attention.
But apparently most other Utahns have great jobs. That might be due to the fact that we came in first in the subcategory of “fewest work hours” and fifth in “highest income growth.”
• Community and environment • We made it all the way to No. 2 in this category, edged out by Idaho (although I have no idea why).
I agree with this ranking because I like Utah, and because I love my neighborhood, including the people in it whom I drive crazy. It’s home, it’s beautiful, and it’s where my people are. I’m not leaving.
Alaska found itself at the bottom of this section, just below Texas. Beats me. Maybe it has something to do with the size of both states, or being so far apart.
Other findings: Only four states have a higher suicide rate than Utah. The Beehive State is second in sports participation and has the highest volunteer rate and lowest divorce rate.
In terms of safety, we come in at No. 4, behind Minnesota, Maine and Vermont. Utah might have ranked higher if it weren’t for Sonny and me.
None of this really matters as much as personal opinion. If you’re miserable in Utah, no study is going to convince you that this is a great place to live. That’s why best state in the nation will always depend on one’s state of mind.