Come on and get happy

Published 5:51 pm Saturday, December 26, 2009

Hold your heads high Southerners. Well, you might be already because according to a study published Dec. 17 in Science magazine Southerners are among the happiest in the United States.

The researchers examined a 2005- 2008 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System random sample of 1.3 million United States citizens in which life-satisfaction in each U.S. state was measured.

On top was Louisiana, followed by Hawaii. Florida took third place. Tennessee held strong to fourth and Arizona followed to round out the top five.

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The top ten was Mississippi, Montana, South Carolina, Alabama and Maine in that order.

The researchers who compiled this list did not just rely on people’s feedback. Instead they used the nationwide life satisfaction survey and a 2003 study with objective happiness indicators for each state, such as how much rain and sunshine each state received, number of hazardous waste sites, commuting time, violent crime, air quality, spending on education and highways, and cost of living.

When they compared the tables side by side, they found a very close correlation between how happy people said they were and objective quality-of-life measures.

New York ranked dead last at number 51. Washington D.C. was included in the study.