How does a state rank among ‘Happiest States in America’? Weather helps, but not always

WalletHub used thirty metrics to determine levels of happiness across all 50 states. Weather was one of those metrics.

WalletHub recently released their "2022’s Happiest States in America" list, and it's likely not a shock to see who is No. 1 on the list.

The company examined all 50 states across 30 key metrics. 

The metrics varied, ranging from Sports-Participation to Life Expectancy, and fell under three categories: Emotional & Physical Well-Being, Work Environment and Community & Environment.

Each metric was weighted differently, based on importance. For example, the Sports-Participation metric was given a full weight, whereas the Life Expectancy metric was given a double weight.

WalletHub pulled the data from previous studies and evaluated them to "determine which environmental factors are linked to a person’s overall well-being and satisfaction with life."

Hawaii took the top spot as the happiest state, with Maryland, Minnesota, Utah and then New Jersey rounding out the top five.

Source: WalletHub

One of the factors used to make this determination was the weather – and according to WalletHub, the weather played a significant role.

"Weather is not only one of the metrics under the community and environment category, but it was also given triple weight," said Jill Gonzalez, analyst at WalletHub. "That's how much these experts said that did have an effect on people's happiness."

According to Gonzalez, the weather metric is based on a number of variables; some of which include temperature, humidity and precipitation. Others include the difference between the historical average monthly temperature and ideal temperature for each season, along with chances of extreme weather.

Most of the high-ranking cities in terms of good weather were found in California. One of the states that ranked low in the metric was Florida, due to the prevalence of natural disasters and rain.

While some rankings in "2022’s Happiest States in America" might come as no surprise, such as the tropical paradise that is Hawaii ranking No. 1, others might.

"Minnesota ranked No. 3, and that's typically not where you think of when you think of sunny days and clear skies," said Gonzalez.

Despite Minnesota not ranking high in terms of weather, WalletHub found that it ranked high in other metrics, such as the Work Environment, Work Hours, Commute Time, Income Growth and Share of Adults Worried about Money.

"Happiness comes from a combination of internal and external factors, and we wanted to see where at least a lot of these environmental factors are pulled from and where they're making the best combination," said Gonzalez. "That's how we get with this ranking of the happiest days in the US."