Happiest States

Happiest States

Nat
Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

February 29th, 2012, 4:07 pm #1

Recently someone came out with a list of the states rated according to "happiest"-

These lists never made much sense to me- like I can understand Hawaii being #1- but #2 is North Dakota?
Cold barren North Dakota is about as different from Hawaii as you can get!

None of us Potpourri regulars rated too well- I'm #42, Bob is #46 and poor Bluetrain is #50

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from- http://www.livescience.com/18666-happie ... -list.html
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Thumper
Thumper

February 29th, 2012, 5:25 pm #2

I LOVE Hawaii, and can see why it is #1, but also can see why North Dakota is #2,but because of the jobs.

I really wouldn't live there, but that is the state with the greatest number of jobs available, that being in the vast oil fields of western North Dakota. The unemployment rate is one of lowest in the nation, with lots of money available -- Yes, just look at the fuel prices going, Up, Up, Up !!!!

And in jest, I'm saying----"They're Norwegians, and they love cold weather"
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Nat
Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

March 1st, 2012, 12:59 am #3

Well, I didn't know about the oil-jobs but even with the current high unemployment less than 10% of people are looking for jobs. And what else does North Dakota offer? From what I know about it there's practically nothing there in the way of entertainment or lifestyle amenities there. As for the cold- the Norwegians can have it- I hate cold weather.
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Bob
Bob

March 2nd, 2012, 5:58 pm #4

Looking at that list, notice how many states with colder climates are in the top 15 happiest: North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Montana, Alaska, Vermont . . while not as far north, some pretty cold-winter and sparsely populated states (Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa) are also said to be happy places. Obviously (to me) something other than climate makes the people in a locale feel more or less happy.

Yes, North Dakota has job growth, and more people working and earning pasychecks could tend to help one's disposition. Contrast that with some of the states toward the bottom third of the rankings . . Great Lakes states like Michigan, Ohio, Illinois and Indiana that have seen their manufacturing jobs dwindle. Something else that I thinks goes along with job losses is people reliance upon drugs to deal with life, and crimes that both follow from negative emotional states and to finance both one's living costs and drug expenses.

Here in Ohio, there is a lot of drug abuse and trafficing, and a lot of violence and property crimes. Unemployed and otherwise messed-up Ohioans are robbing, burglarizing, car-jacking, pimping/prostituting, dope dealing and anything else they can think of to get money. Vacant homes are common, and any house that is vacant for long is going to get stripped of windows, doors, plumbing and other fixtures, and then fires set until there is no alternative but for the city to tear it down. Then, while Ohio has a lot of universities, young people cannot find career-type jobs here like they used to and must leave Ohio in order to pursue careers.

To me, my hometown and home state ARE depressing . . as much as anything because I remember when things were good here, and it saddens me to see how far conditions have declined. I used to think, "Why would I leave Ohio? Everything I need is right here." But now I think, "Why would anyone come to or stay in Ohio? Things just keep getting worse all the time." I especially think this every time I hear of more job loses and more companies closing or moving elsewhere. The cold weather doesn't bother me half as much as the deterioration of conditions.

Yet, I stay . . because my people, dwindling though they are, are here. And, I think places like Ohio are the microcosm of America: when my region declines, the nation declines, and if my nation is to thrive, places such as where I come from need to thrive again.

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Joined: May 9th, 2005, 12:05 pm

March 2nd, 2012, 7:30 pm #5

Recently someone came out with a list of the states rated according to "happiest"-

These lists never made much sense to me- like I can understand Hawaii being #1- but #2 is North Dakota?
Cold barren North Dakota is about as different from Hawaii as you can get!

None of us Potpourri regulars rated too well- I'm #42, Bob is #46 and poor Bluetrain is #50

. . .

from- http://www.livescience.com/18666-happie ... -list.html
. . . . .
Gee, I'm glad someone remembered me here. Yes, I am from West Virginia. But did you notice that the scale is 100 points and the difference between the highest and lowest is only about eight points. Some difference, huh? What is a passing score?
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Nat
Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

March 2nd, 2012, 7:47 pm #6

Of course we remember you, Blue. In the past year you have been the third most frequent poster here, behind Bob and I. And yes, you make a valid point that there really isn't much point spread between the highest and lowest state so a 0-100 score the difference is negligible, which only points out how inaccurate these ratings must be considering the huge difference there is between the states. How can there only be 0.2 difference between Hawaii and North Dakota when there is a world of difference in climate, industry, topography, and every other thing.
. . . . .
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Nat
Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

March 2nd, 2012, 8:04 pm #7

Looking at that list, notice how many states with colder climates are in the top 15 happiest: North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Montana, Alaska, Vermont . . while not as far north, some pretty cold-winter and sparsely populated states (Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa) are also said to be happy places. Obviously (to me) something other than climate makes the people in a locale feel more or less happy.

Yes, North Dakota has job growth, and more people working and earning pasychecks could tend to help one's disposition. Contrast that with some of the states toward the bottom third of the rankings . . Great Lakes states like Michigan, Ohio, Illinois and Indiana that have seen their manufacturing jobs dwindle. Something else that I thinks goes along with job losses is people reliance upon drugs to deal with life, and crimes that both follow from negative emotional states and to finance both one's living costs and drug expenses.

Here in Ohio, there is a lot of drug abuse and trafficing, and a lot of violence and property crimes. Unemployed and otherwise messed-up Ohioans are robbing, burglarizing, car-jacking, pimping/prostituting, dope dealing and anything else they can think of to get money. Vacant homes are common, and any house that is vacant for long is going to get stripped of windows, doors, plumbing and other fixtures, and then fires set until there is no alternative but for the city to tear it down. Then, while Ohio has a lot of universities, young people cannot find career-type jobs here like they used to and must leave Ohio in order to pursue careers.

To me, my hometown and home state ARE depressing . . as much as anything because I remember when things were good here, and it saddens me to see how far conditions have declined. I used to think, "Why would I leave Ohio? Everything I need is right here." But now I think, "Why would anyone come to or stay in Ohio? Things just keep getting worse all the time." I especially think this every time I hear of more job loses and more companies closing or moving elsewhere. The cold weather doesn't bother me half as much as the deterioration of conditions.

Yet, I stay . . because my people, dwindling though they are, are here. And, I think places like Ohio are the microcosm of America: when my region declines, the nation declines, and if my nation is to thrive, places such as where I come from need to thrive again.
Well climate is important to me. I found winter with its cold gloomy overcast skys, bare trees and brown grass very depressing when I lived in N.C.- not to mention the hassle of snow, ice storms, frozen pipes and slippery steps and streets, heavy bulky clothes, gloves, boots, etc. I just persevered through all this so I could see another Spring again. So one day I though why be miserable for half the year for the rest of my life when I can live where winters are short and mild and have none of these problems? Then consider recreation, year-around golf, biking, swimming, sailing, gardening- there's so much more to do in a warm climate. I left family too when I came down here but with modern communications- email, cheap- even free long distance phones- even video using Skype, you can visit with them "virtually" every day if you wish.
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Bob
Bob

March 4th, 2012, 12:18 pm #8

Gee, I'm glad someone remembered me here. Yes, I am from West Virginia. But did you notice that the scale is 100 points and the difference between the highest and lowest is only about eight points. Some difference, huh? What is a passing score?
I hadn't noticed that. Then again, notice how in other contexts a seemingly smaller difference is noteworthy. If our unemployment rate rises or drops by even 0.1%, all the news agencies are reporting it, as that still represents a lot of people. Likewise, a local TV news program noted that my local area has a somewhat smaller percentage of males than the national average (I think about 0.2% less) and asked, "Where are the men?" Again, I guess 0.2% still represents a lot of people, though it seems on the face to be a slight difference.

It would be interesting to see the data on happy vs. less happy states charted as a bell curve, and then statistical analysis to determine actual significance of the scores. An eight point spread may or may not be significant. Also, the criteria selected to denote "happiness" might not accurately measure or predict that vague and elusive condition. For example, making unhealthy lifestyle choices was considered indicative of reduced happiness. But who is to say that a person who smokes or eats fatty foods is less happy than someone who does not? I think you can have been habits and enjoy them. I have!
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Nat
Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

March 4th, 2012, 7:31 pm #9

I think a better indicator is what states people are leaving and going to...

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Bob
Bob

March 5th, 2012, 3:01 pm #10

I think the factors that influence population changes/movements are things we have noted:

1. Jobs/economy: People tend to go where there are available jobs that allow them to earn a liveable wage. Obviously, some states have been winners and others losers in this.

2. Demographics: People, especially the young, are drawn to larger cities and coastal areas. While the costs of living may be higher, so too are the wages, amenities and social/entertainment options. There may be more jobs too, but also people want certain recreational/social opportunities that larger metropilitan areas and coastal areas tend to provide.

3. Climate: As Nat noted, people tend to be drawn to more temporate climates and away from colder ones. Certain hardships can be avoided and the options for year-round recreation are increased.

4. Immigration: Since much of the immigration into the U.S. has come from our southern border, it makes sense that those people would tend to congregate closer to their entry point, providing that they can support themselves there. The southwest, and to a lesser extent the southeast, U.S. thus has a higher concentration of persons who have entered from other countries, both legally and illegally. This involves many millions of people that have mostly settled in those areas. Also, those regions would have climates more similar to their countries of origin than would northern states. And, if they are looking for work in agriculture or construction, they would be able to find those jobs in states in the south more so than in the north. For comparison . . I don't have the latest figures, but a few years ago I read that the population of Ohio was 98% comprised of native-US caucasions and blacks. Imagine if our population were similar in make-up to California, where I believe upwards of 20% of the population is now Hispanic. With an influx like that, Ohio would likely be up near the top of the list forp opulation growth(Not that I am in favor of Hispanics moving to Ohio en mass . . and there wouldn't be the jobs here to support that influx anyway).

I believe that "happiness" is influenced by many things which are subject to change over time. Years ago, I visited Denver and was told be the people there that many Californians had left their state and moved to Colorado, to get away from high crime and increases in certain demographic groups there. So, while California has always shown population gains, there is also a certain percentage of Californians (or residents of other states) who see negative changes in their state and leave to what looks to be greener pastures. If problems follow the flow of people into Colorado, perhaps people might start to leave Colorado as well. If the publicized water shortages in parts of the southeast and southwest increase, perhaps there will be a reversal of the exodus from northern states to those areas. Things could look very different 20-30 years from now (not that some of us will be around to care).
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