AIF Blog

Happiest State in the U.S.

Feb 27, 2012

What's the happiest state in the U.S.? Aloha, Hawaii! For the third year in a row, Hawaii topped Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index released today. Western states still top the idex, while Southern states rate poorly in comparrison. The top ten also includes: North Dakota, Minnesota, Utah, Alaska, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Hampshire, and Montana. TIME's Healthland blog covers the survey in more detail.

We covered the topic "What is Happiness?" extensively at our last Festival. Below, Eric Weiner, author of the best-selling book, The Geography of Bliss and Carol Graham of the Brookings Institution discuss The Geography of Happiness with moderator Dan Gilbert.

“Happiness has an address. And the fact is that some places are happier than others,” says Weiner, who traveled the world to study the geography of happiness. The United States, he notes, is not No. 1. We’re No. 23 in world happiness ranking.

Wiener notes that for most of human history, happiness was the exception; it was not the rule. People did not expect to be happy. Now, happiness is something we think is possible, and it actually is an expectation in the US. When you get into expectations, you’re in dangerous territory when it comes to happiness. You can suffer from what Darrin McMahon calls, “The unhappiness of not being happy,” which is a particularly miserable state to be in.