"Which are the happiest states in the U.S.?" That's the question asked by the 2012 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, a yearly report which "surveys 1,000 people each day for 350 days of the year, asking them questions about work environment, physical health, emotional healthy, lifestyle behaviors like exercise and smoking, access to things like health care and food, and overall satisfaction."
Here are the results (see map above, click to enlarge). At the top of the list, starting with the happiest, are ~
- Montana ( ! )
- New Hampshire
And at the bottom of the list, ending with the least happy, are ~
- Tennessee ( ! )
- West Virginia
If you click on the results link above, you'll discover a slide show with natural scenes from each of the ten happiest states ~ an interesting choice, since (for me) access to wilderness and nature are a vital component of my own happiness.
For a more global view, here is a similar survey of the ten happiest cities in the world ~
- Rio de Janiero (Brazil)
- Sydney (Australia)
- Barcelona (Spain)
- Amsterdam (The Netherlands)
- Melbourne (Australia)
- Madrid (Spain)
- San Francisco (United States) ( ! )
- Rome (Italy)
- Paris (France)
- Buenos Aires (Brazil)
The analysis in this survey is a bit more informative, with a graph next to each city explaining what qualities make that city attractive.