You’d never know looking at the faces of drivers inching their along Route 9 in Lakewood, but New Jersey is actually considered one of the happiest states in the entire US – the fifth happiest, to be specific.
According to a new ranking from personal finance site WalletHub, researchers utilized the findings of “happiness” research to determine which environmental factors are linked to a person’s overall well-being and satisfaction with life, and then ranked each state based on those metrics.
To determine where Americans exhibit the best combination of these factors, WalletHub examined the 50 states across 30 key metrics, ranging from the depression rate and the share of adults feeling productive to income growth and the unemployment rate.
New Jersey came in fifth place with a score of 61.98 points out of a possible 100. It scored particularly well in the “Emotional & Physical Wellbeing” category, coming in third place overall.
Gov. Phil Murphy hailed the study’s findings, sharing it on X and saying, “Mental health. Physical fitness. Professional satisfaction. Public safety. These are just some of the reasons why New Jersey was ranked the fifth happiest state in America by WalletHub.”
The states that are happier than the Garden State, according to this ranking, are: 1. Utah 2. Hawaii 3. Maryland 4. Minnesota. New York ranked 16th-happiest state.
The absolute unhappiest state? That would be West Virginia, which scored dead-last in both the “Emotional & Physical Wellbeing” and “Work Environment” categories.