OK, everybody move to North or South Dakota!!! At least that’s what Gallup’s annual poll of the happiest (and unhappiest) states would have you think. I’ve been in both recently, and I guess if you’re going to have brutal winters everywhere from Georgia to Maine anyway, why not? Despite brutal winters, it’s obvious how hot North Dakota is: Last summer, when I drove through North Dakota, I could barely find a hotel under $200 a night.
The ranking combine a whole lot of things, but clearly, the fact that most of North Dakota is getting (temporarily) rich on oil is a big factor in this study. It’s heartbreaking to look at the bottom and see the great states of West Virginia, Kentucky, and Mississippi stuck down there, most certainly because they have no such oil fields lottery ticket. They do have incredible natural beauty, however. Money isn’t everything, as New York’s presence in the middle of the list attests.
Politics don’t seem to matter much. For every Washington and Massachusetts you see near the top, you’ll find a Nebraska and Utah.
It’s important to note that nationality doesn’t matter much either, at least according to the OECD. The U.S. doesn’t even rank in the top 10 of the happiest places on Earth, it says. The real Disneyland is Denmark, says the OECD.
YMMV. But it is worth noting that Danes enjoy one full year of maternity leave for each child they have. They also enjoy hygge, which is a culture of “chill” that seeks happy, contented feelings above all else, including being first into the subway car or into the toll both. That now-famous Cadillac TV ad running during the Olympics would have you think otherwise, but it’s awfully nice to take all of August off in the summer.