Andrew Ainsworth did a post back in March wondering if Mormon Culture is Depressing Utahns?
If we can blame depression on Mormon Culture, apparently it is fair game to blame Mormon Culture for making Utah the Happiest State in the nation, according to this MSNBC article. Let’s look at the Top 10:
Here are the top 10 states and their average well-being scores (out of a possible 100 points):
- Utah: 69.2
- Hawaii: 68.2
- Wyoming: 68
- Colorado: 67.3
- Minnesota: 67.3
- Maryland: 67.1
- Washington: 67.1
- Massachusetts: 67
- California: 67
- Arizona: 66.8
The article says that researchers reviewed “overall evaluation of their lives, emotional health, physical health, healthy behaviors (such as whether a person smokes or exercises), and job satisfaction.”
Other interesting quotes: “New research suggests U.S. states with wealthier, better educated and more tolerant residents are also happier on average.”
Wait, Utah residents are wealthier, better educated, and more tolerant? That seems to fly in the face of conventional wisdom, especially on the Bloggernacle.
Oh wait, let’s look at the wealth criteria again: “the top three states, Utah, Hawaii and Wyoming are outliers, as they aren’t considered the wealthiest of the pack.” Ok, apparently Utah is better educated and more tolerant.
How about tolerance? “Diener points out that Utah is conservative, and research has suggested such right-leaning individuals are a bit happier than others. Hawaii’s ranking could be due to a relaxed culture, he said, adding that the three states may just have strong families and social relationships.”
Here’s another nugget from the article:
Of the personality factors, neuroticism took a toll on a state’s cheery count, suggesting people living in the happiest states are more relaxed than their gloomy counterparts. For instance, West Virginia, Mississippi and Kentucky were ranked as highly neurotic and showed lower well-being scores. Utah, on the other hand, had a significantly lower level of neuroticism than other states.
How is Utah the most depressed AND the happiest?